Pilot of light aircraft dies after crashing into remote Fenland stretch of the river near March

Report by John Elworthy, at the scene of today s fatal crash in the Fens. THE pilot of a light aircraft died this afternoon when his plane crashed into a remote stretch of the River Nene between Whittlesey and March, Cambridgeshire. Fire crews and the em

Report by John Elworthy, at the scene of today's fatal crash in the Fens.

THE pilot of a light aircraft died this afternoon when his plane crashed into a remote stretch of the River Nene between Whittlesey and March, Cambridgeshire.

Fire crews and the emergency services were called to the bank of a stretch of the river known as Morton's Leam, reached via the end of Eldernell Lane, Coates.

The plane crashed shortly after 3pm and rescue workers- including a police helicopter- were quickly on the scene.


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Rescue workers said a body had been seen floating in the river but recovery attempts were hampered by the lack of transport to the scene.

Ambulance staff and fire crews were struggling to get to the scene and a local farmer was being approached to make use of a tractor to cover the Fenland terrain.

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However it was confirmed that no one was alive in the wreckage of the light aircraft although the identity of the pilot at this stage is not known.

Civil Aviation Authority officials ordered the area to be cordoned off and lights have been brought into the scene to help recovery. Wreckage of the plane has been clearly seen by rescue workers although the public has been kept well away.

The emergency services were alerted after a nearby farmer heard the aircraft fly over and heard a crash. He went to investigate and immediately alerted police and ambulance crews.

One police officer at the scene believed the aircraft must have "hit the ground at a helluva rate."

Morton's Leam was dug in the 15th century by the then Bishop of Ely, John, as part of attempts to straighten the River Nene and to make the area better drained.

Late this afternoon police had taken names and contact details of a number of bird watchers seen in the area, and they were also asking walkers and local residents if they had witnessed the crash.

This evening airfields across the region are being contacted to discover the identity of the light aircraft. Rescue workers now have the serial number of the aircraft and are trying to locate family or friends of the person they believe to have been flying it.

Police at the scene could not confirm if the pilot was flying solo, and more information is not expected to be released until the morning.

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