Five people have been killed when a private aircraft crashed into a residential estate, bursting into flames and destroying the home of a couple who were hours from returning from holiday.
- Biggin Hill residents ´feared crash´
- Kent plane crash victims´ profiles
- In quotes: Eyewitness accounts of the Kent air crash
The pilot was last night confirmed as Mike Roberts, 63, who was not married and had no children, who lived in Effingham in Surrey. Two of the passengers were reported to be tDavid Leslie and Richard Lloyd, both of whom worked in the motor sport industry. Richard Lloyd and David Leslie; victims of the Kent air crash Richard Lloyd (left) and David Leslie were killed in the air crash. Further disaster was averted only because the pilot of the Cessna jet fought to fly it clear of a cul-de-sac where families were enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Witnesses said the plane, which had issued a mayday alert, flew so low over rows of houses that they could see the "terrified" faces of the passengers seconds before it crashed. The EUR 700,000 detached house in Farnborough, Kent, was completely destroyed in a fireball created as the plane crash landed, but the owners, Ed Harman, 72, and his wife Pat, 68, were still away on holiday.
Mrs Harman broke down in tears on Sunday night as she returned to the wreckage of her home at No 5 Romsey Close - her husband is due back on Monday.
The pensioner, who had been in Madeira with her daughter Sue, said: "Oh my god, oh my god, not the house. The house. I cannot believe a plane has gone into my house." advertisement.
The eigh-seater plane smashed through the roof of her house and exploded behind it. The garage and a car at the next door property were set alight.
Two brothers, aged four and one, were playing in the garden there but escaped unhurt. The Fire Brigade confirmed that there were no survivors from the jet. The bodies of the two pilots and three passengers remained in the wreckage as an investigation began. A police spokesman said: "We are still speaking to the next of kin, but it is now believe that the deceased are not related."
The Cessna Citation 501 jet had taken off from Biggin Hill at around 2.30pm for Pau in south-west France on a business trip, but suffered immediate engine problems. After issuing the mayday call, the pilot turned to try to land back at Biggin Hill. John Sidbury, the pilot of another light aircraft, described the last desperate moments he heard over his radio. Emergency service workers at the scene of the Kent air crash. Telegraph TV: An eight-seater Cessna jet smashed through the roof of a house and exploded behind it.
"I heard the pilot in the other plane was experiencing severe engine vibrations," he said. "You could hear the alarms in the background in the cockpit and Biggin tower acknowledged the mayday and advised them to continue approaching to the airfield at their discretion. "The pilot came back over the radio and said, ´We´re going in, going in´ and the radio stayed live. Then as I turned off the runway I saw the plane and it just nose-dived out of the sky. The radio went dead and black smoke all plumed up."