On Thursday 12th July 2018 at around 15:50, PC Nigel Allen was flagged down and told about a possible plane crash near Bembridge. Officers begun searching the area in line with the runway at the airport and the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Services were alerted.
Meanwhile, PC Lorraine Buxton and a colleague decided to go to the highest point in the east of the Island – Culver Down – to try to spot the plane. This decision aided search teams to locate the plane quickly as they could be guided to it by the officers at Culver Down.
The light aircraft had crashed in a remote and difficult to access area in the middle of a Brading Marshes, which had ruts and water courses. The closest footpath was around 20 minutes away on foot and emergency services vehicles found it difficult to reach the site.
3 members of the public who had been in a helicopter in the area were already on scene. They had started first aid for the 2 people – the pilot and passenger – who had been in the light aircraft, just before the PCSO and first police officers arrived. They were both subsequently taken to Southampton General Hospital by air ambulance to be treated for serious injuries.
The crash is now under investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Branch.
The actions of every officer from all 3 emergency services dealing with the crash helped to save the lives of the 2 people in the plane.
Superintendent Sarah Jackson of Hampshire Constabulary presented awards to the following people for their efforts that day:
- PC Nigel Allen representing the officers from the Island’s response and patrol teams who assisted
- PCSO Karen Allen and Sergeant Justin Pringle representing the Neighbourhood Policing Team officers who assisted
- Graham Orchard representing the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service officers who assisted
- Mary Long and Darren Claydon representing the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service staff who assisted
The awards were handed out during a special ceremony in Newport on Monday which recognised not only those involved with the plane crash, but other examples of outstanding contributions to the local community.
Superintendent Sarah Jackson was joined for the event by Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight Major General Sir Martin White and High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, Gioia Minghella-Giddens
1 officer was presented with a long service medal alongside various other awards for: 16 other officers, 4 police community support officers, 1 special constable, 2 members of police staff (retired), and 4 members of the public (including the 2 members of the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service and 1 member of the Isle of Wight Fire Service).
Superintendent Sarah Jackson said:
“I’m delighted that we take this opportunity every year to recognise the hard work and achievements of my officers and members of the police family. It’s also important to highlight the work of the public, whichhelps us to keep our community on the Island safe.
“The teamwork and dedication shown by those that helped to save the lives of two people following a plane crash at Bembridge in July is just one example of the outstanding work that’s been undertaken on the Isle of Wight.
“Each recipient of these awards should be proud of their achievements. I’d like to personally thank each and every one of them for their contribution to our community”.