Several casualties confirmed after aircraft and helicopter collide in mid-air over Buckinghamshire
Early reports suggest the pilot of the small aircraft and two people in the helicopter have all died.
Michelle Archer from South Central Ambulance Service confirmed to RT there are a “number of casualties.”
“We received the call at 12.09pm, for a mid-air collision involving a helicopter and an aircraft in Upper Winchendon, near Aylesbury.
“We sent a number of resources to the scene, including a Thames Valley air ambulance, two ambulance crews, two ambulance officers and a rapid response vehicle.
“There have been a number of casualties at the scene, but at this stage this is all we are able to confirm.”
We're aware of a number of casualties following an incident this afternoon in Waddesdon, Aylesbury.There were a number of road closures following the incident, which have now been lifted. We will provide further updates when available.— Thames Valley Police (@ThamesVP) November 17, 2017
Luxury helicopter rides are common in the area, with passengers able to view English country houses, including Stowe School, Waddesdon Manor, Nether Winchendon House, and Claydon House, from above.
Wycombe Air Park offers training for new pilots, as well as a take-off spots for experienced flyers. It currently houses “more than 200 aircraft for club members and other airfield users including gliders, rotary wing aircraft and vintage aircraft such as Tiger Moths,” the website says.
Students from Bucks New University are also understood to use the Air Park as a space to practice piloting. BNU spokeswoman Kelly Young told RT they do not yet have details of the accident.
RAF Halton, which is around 10 miles away, said no military aircraft were involved.
One tour operator told RT the area is frequently used for training exercises. George from Top Flight Helicopters said: “I have spoken to the local airfield we are based at and it is not one of ours. I really don’t know anything at the moment.
“The area [the crash] is in is quite big but there is not much air space around there. A lot of people use it for training exercises.”
A plume of smoke can be seen close to Waddesdon Hill where a plane and a helicopter collided today - emergency services still at scene pic.twitter.com/wYb36RrE81— Hayley O'Keeffe (@misshoknews) November 17, 2017
Initial reports suggested the wreckage from both aircraft fell in the grounds of the former Rothschild family house of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. A spokeswoman for the National Trust owned property said the wreckage did not fall on its grounds.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police, who were called to the incident shortly after midday, said: “Officers are currently at the scene of an air accident near the village of Waddesdon near Aylesbury.”
A plane has come down at Waddesdon Hill - currently at scene. More to come as we have it pic.twitter.com/ZLl51n6JnP— Hayley O'Keeffe (@misshoknews) November 17, 2017
“The force is coordinating the response to the incident which was reported at 12.06pm today.
“The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has been informed and staff are en-route to the scene. Fire and ambulance services are also in attendance and preservation of life is first priority.
“In consequence of this incident it is expected that there will be some disruption to the road network around Waddesdon for the rest of the day.”
Firefighters currently assisting other emergency services at scene of air accident near Waddesdon. Air Accidents Investigation Branch informed. Disruption to road network around Waddesdon likely for the rest of the day— Bucks and MK Fire (@Bucksfire) November 17, 2017
A local resident told the Mail Online: “My father heard a loud bang. My mother said a man, who I think was someone who had been out walking, then came running towards the manor to say there had been a crash.
“My father ran up to the scene. Everyone is helping the emergency services.”
At least seven fire appliances were called to the scene and two urban rescue vehicles. A fire brigade drone has also been flown over the wreckage to search for survivors.
Police have erected a cordon to seal off the area. It is not yet clear what caused the collision.
Staff at the local Red Lion pub told RT that they were “aware” of the accident but that emergency services were yet to give details.
One woman said there has been a large emergency response, but that traffic in the surrounding area was unaffected.
Waddesdon Manor is managed by the Rothschild Foundation on behalf of the National Trust.