Both the Hampshire & Isle of Wight and Thames Valley Air Ambulances have airlifted the casualties to mainland hospitals following a large multi-agency operation involving the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire Constabulary and the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service.
As first reported by Island Echo, emergency services were called to Bembridge Airport at around 16:00 this afternoon (Thursday) to reports of a helicopter having come down to the west of the runway. It has since been confirmed that the aircraft is in fact a 50-year-old Beagle B121 Pup fixed-wing plane.
The actions of a plane outbound from Sandown Airport that spotted the incident, the control tower at Sandown Airport that alerted the emergency services and a helicopter inbound to Sandown that landed at the scene itself have assisted the rescue operation.
The main road in and out of Bembridge to Yaverland and Sandown was closed for a time to allow emergency vehicles to co-ordinate the rescue but has since re-opened.
Emergency teams have now stood down and are retreating through the undergrowth to the main road. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks engineers have already departed the scene having assessed the pole that was struck.
The location of the crash has proved a challenge for all 3 blue light services – it is hard to imagine what could have happened if the plane had caught fire in the middle of the extremely dry field.
The Air Accident Investigation Bureau have been informed of the crash and an investigation is now underway, but it remains unclear how the aircraft will be recovered.
The extent of the injuries sustained to the 2 casualties is unknown.
UPDATE FRIDAY – The Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) have confirmed that they have deployed a team of inspectors to the Island to examine the wreckage. They are expected to arrive at Centurion Copse this morning.
The investigators will spend 1-2 days looking into the cause of the crash and examining the evidence. It is unclear if the wreckage will be recovered to the AAIB’s base at Farnborough, although the AAIB always endeavour to do so.
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