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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Bronwen Weatherby

Light aircraft crashes off South Wales coast

A light aircraft has crashed into the sea off the South Wales coast.

Pictures from the scene showed the small red and white plane in shallow water, between the lifeboat station and the Seabank Hotel at Porthcawl, on Tuesday morning.

Members of the public reported seeing what appeared to be the pilot being led from the site by coastguards, but their condition is currently not known.

Porthcawl RNLI and Coastguard crews were on the scene, and were joined by members of the police, fire and ambulance services.

In a statement, the RNLI said it received a callout at 9.22am and the pilot was seen by paramedics.

Witnesses reported hearing the plane’s engine “spluttering” before seeing it crash-land.

Onlooker Terry Sinnett, who saw the incident unfold, tweeted: “Looks like a small aircraft has come down in Porthcawl. Pilot being attended by public but was walking. Hoping everyone is safe.”

He later tweeted: “Think I saw pilot being helped away from sea by the emergency services.

“Seems pilot has had a miraculous escape, thankfully.”

James Brown, 75, saw the plane crash while walking on Lock’s Common, an area of land near the bay.

Mr Brown, a retired church minister, said he heard the aircraft’s engine “stutter” before the plane “swooped” into the water.

He told the PA news agency: “As I was observing the bay I could hear a fairly low noise of a plane and as I looked to the Swansea direction I saw a light aircraft.

“It was a bright red colour, very visual, and it passed me right by on the edge of the rocks. Then three or four seconds later I heard the engine begin to splutter and stutter. As I watched it, the engine died completely and then very rapidly it just swooped right down into the water.

“I couldn’t see the exact moment of the crash, but I walked over and could see it had upended, with the nose in the water and the tail sticking up in the air.”

Mr Brown described the incident as “a very near miss” and said if the pilot had landed on nearby rocks, it “would have been a very different outcome”.

Chris Page, RNLI lifeboat press officer at Porthcawl, said: “RNLI volunteer crews never quite know what to expect when the call for help comes.

“We are trained to deal with every eventuality, but were incredibly relieved to arrive on scene to find the pilot was able to be safely recovered.

“This was a real multi-agency effort between the fire service, the Coastguard and the RNLI.”

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