Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Another Escape for Luckiest Pair; Air Crash Men Cheat Death for a Second Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Another Escape for Luckiest Pair; Air Crash Men Cheat Death for a Second Time

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sam Wood

TWO friends cheated death for the second time yesterday when their light aircraft crashed in Northumberland.

The men, named locally as Jim Martin and Jon Ker, were seriously injured when the small microlight crashed into trees at Bywell Farm, north of Morpeth.

The aircraft's landing was cushioned by the trees, which sit between a ploughed field and Burgham Golf Course.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is expected to begin its inquiries into the incident today.

Last year, the two flyers survived a climbing accident that killed their friend, Dr Rupert Bennett.

The three Great North Air Ambulance team members - Jim Martin is a pilot in his late 40s and Jon Ker a paramedic in his mid-30s - were climbing on Ben Nevis when tragedy struck.

Jon was abseiling down in bad weather when the ground Jim and Rupert were standing on gave way, and they plunged 100ft to the ground.

Rupert died in the fall, but the other two were rescued later. Jim was seriously injured and Jon slightly injured.

Jim enjoyed even more luck when he survived a helicopter crash at Hanover Air Show in 1988, which killed eight of his crew.

In yesterday's incident, the microlight fell into a ravine in the wooded area after witnesses reported hearing the engine stall and seeing something fall from the aircraft. Several golf club members were on the course at the time and witnessed the crash.

They contacted emergency services, who were on the scene within minutes. It took some time to reach the men and cut them free from the wreckage before they were taken to Newcastle General Hospital, one by air ambulance, the other by police helicopter.

Police last night described the men's condition as serious. They were both suffering concussion and severe leg injuries and one had internal bleeding.

The microlight had set off from nearby Felton airfield and was thought to be heading for Eshott airfield, just south of Felton.

Steve Clarehugh, the chief flying instructor at Eshott, said the "two star guys" were very fortunate. …

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