A SOMPTING couple spoke of their horror as a light aircraft missed them by seconds as it crash landed in a field this afternoon.
Colin and Gill Griffiths, of Lambleys Lane, were walking their two dogs in a field north of Lyons Farm Retail Park in Worthing when they spotted a light aircraft crash through the trees, just a few feet from the ground.
Mr Griffiths said: “I heard my wife shouting. I turned around and saw the plane was just a few feet off the ground, 15 yards behind us, and it hit a fence and some trees.
“Afterwards, I just remember running back towards the plane and there was smoke coming out of it. I was anticipating it catching fire.”
Mr Griffiths said he saw the pilot emerge from the smoke completely unharmed.
After Mrs Griffiths called the emergency services, Worthing and Shoreham Fire and Rescue crews arrived at the scene within several minutes at 5pm.
I turned around and saw the plane was just a few feet off the groundColin Griffiths
Worthing station manager Roy Barraclough said it was ‘remarkable’ that the pilot was unharmed.
He said: “The pilot said the engine started misfiring and then stopped, so he had to make an emergency landing. He eventually hit a fence and did a somersault.”
Mr Barraclough said that although no one was hurt, three sheep had been killed in the field.
“The plane was totalled,” he added.
Mrs Griffiths said that she was left ‘shaken’ by the incident.
“I was shocked because it literally missed us by 15 yards,” she said.
Fire and Rescue crews made sure there was no fuel leaking.
The Diamond DA 40D Diamond Star aircraft had departed from Shoreham Airport.
The pilot, who is believed to be a man in his 30s, was clear from the plane before the crews arrived and did not need any medical attention.