UK & World News
Essex Plane 'Was Somersaulting' Before Crash
Two men have been killed after a light aircraft burst into flames as it crashed into a field in Essex.
Emergency services were alerted at around 2.55pm on Saturday that a plane had gone down in a field between Ongar and Writtle.
Essex Police said the Yak 52 aircraft's pilot and passenger, both from Essex, were killed.
The plane crashed after flying out from North Weald airfield.
Witnesses described how the aircraft had been attempting a somersault before going down near Cooksmill Green.
A police spokeswoman said: "Two people have died after a Yak 52 light aircraft was seen to be in difficulties and then crashed into a field off the A414 near Cooksmill Green (between Writtle and Ongar).
"Emergency services rushed to the scene and fire crews extinguished the fire caused when the plane crashed. Two men, a pilot and his passenger - both from Essex, were on board. The plane had flown out from North Weald airfield."
The spokeswoman said officers were in the process of locating and informing next of kin.
Firefighters from nearby Chelmsford, Colchester and Maldon attended the scene.
An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "On arrival the incident commander reported that the plane was completely alight.
"Crews used foam and had extinguished the fire by 3.55pm."
Sam Gildersleeve, from Ongar, said he saw the plane flying low close to the A414 near Cooksmill Green when it attempted to do "a somersault unsuccessfully".
He said he then heard "a popping sound and noticed the plane did not re-emerge".
An Air Accidents Investigation Branch spokesman said: "The Air Accidents Investigation Branch have sent a team to investigate."
The Yakovlev Yak 52 is a Soviet aircraft which was first produced in the late 1970s and is still used for training both civilian aerobatics pilots and military pilots.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s many of the around 1,800 planes produced to date have been exported to the west, and they are still in production in Romania.