Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Sunday, 14 June 2009 20:42 UK

RAF crew dead after mid-air crash

The glider and aircraft came down in a field (picture from James O'Neill)

An air cadet and an RAF reservist died when their light trainer plane and a civilian glider collided in mid-air and crashed to the ground.

Witnesses said they heard a thud before seeing both aircraft spiralling nose down towards the ground at Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.

The glider pilot parachuted to the ground and survived.

The RAF personnel were in a Tutor single-engined training plane, the Ministry of Defence said.

'Big impact'

James O'Neill, who lives nearby, said: "We heard the noise of an aircraft come very low over the house followed by a thud.

Resident James O'Neill: "It wasn't surprising when the thump came"

"My wife who had actually seen it spiral down came running in to say that the plane had crashed and then very quickly she saw a second aircraft, which was a glider also spiralling nose down into the ground."

Stuart Wilson who was in a field outside his house nearby said he saw a plane coming down.

"There was a big impact noise when it hit the ground," he said.

Families devastated

Insp Brian Cooper from Thames Valley Police said it was likely many people had seen the crash.

He urged witnesses, and anyone who found wreckage, to contact the police.

"It is very tragic. We've got two families now that were devastated by the news today.

"Our officers and specialist family liaison officers have been with them offering them support," he said.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) is at the scene trying to establish the cause of the crash.

In February, two Air Training Corps cadets and their RAF instructors were killed in a mid-air crash between two light aircraft in south Wales.

In a separate crash on Saturday, a pilot died when the glider he was in came down in a field in Ratley, Warwickshire, close to Banbury.

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