Aircraft man's poignant crash memories

A retired aircraft engineer has recalled the day that one of his planes crashed into an Ipswich housing estate which miraculously resulted in nobody being injured.

IPSWICH: A retired aircraft engineer has recalled the day that one of his planes crashed into an Ipswich housing estate which miraculously resulted in nobody being injured.

Ray Crosbie, 74, was a senior engineer at RAF Wattisham back in August 1957 when he was called to Tuddenham Avenue where a Hawker Hunter jet had come down.

Mr Crosbie, of Leopold Road, was reminded of the incident when he read the Kindred Spirits column in our January 19 edition.

The story told how a group of children were minutes from death after playing yards from the site where the plane crashed.


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Mr Crosbie said: “I read the article and it all came back to me - I thought 'that was my plane!'.

“I was at Wattisham when we received a May Day call from the pilot and then we heard it had crashed.

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“I think the pilot had made a miscalculation and run out of fuel. He tried to crash land in Felixstowe but the wind blew the plane into Ipswich.

“He baled out and nobody on the ground was hurt. Which to be honest was an absolute miracle.”

Recalling the day, Mr Crosbie added: “Four of us went to Tuddenham Avenue and as soon as we got there we could see crowds of people. The plane had landed on a plot of open land and had disintegrated on impact. It had created a massive crater about 12ft deep and 10ft by 20ft wide.”

Mr Crosbie's first job was to cordon off the site and then ensure that debris from the aircraft didn't explode or catch fire.

He added: “The plane was armed up - meaning its guns were still full of bullets - so we had to keep people away - one spark could have started a massive fire.

“We set up a tent and guarded the site for four days until the wreckage was cleared. People in the street gave us sweets and lemonade.

“One of them was my girlfriend Mary, who would later become my wife. We've been married 50 years and this reminded me of our early days together.”

RECENT AIRCRAFT CRASHES WHICH RESULTED IN SURVIVORS

2010

January 24, Taban Air Flight 6437, a Tupolev Tu-154M, crashes whilst making an emergency landing at Mashhad International Airport, Iran; all 157 and 13 crew survive the accident with 47 receiving minor injuries.

January 19, US Airways Flight 2495 pilot aborts take-off, stopping 100ft from the edge of the mountain Yeager Airport is located on, after an electrical warning light illuminates; no injuries are reported.

2009

December 22, American Airlines Flight 331, a Boeing 737-800 from Miami International Airport overruns the runway at Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica; there are 40 injuries and no fatalities.

November 12, RwandAir Flight 205, a Bombardier CRJ-100, crashes into a VIP terminal shortly after an emergency landing at Kigali International Airport, Rwanda; of the 10 passengers and five crew, one passenger dies.

September 4, Air India Flight 829, a Boeing 747-400 with 213 passengers and 16 crew, catches fire on push-back at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai; all are evacuated with 21 receiving minor injuries, the aircraft sustains substantial damage to one of its engine and adjoining wing structure.

January 15, US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus A320 ditches in the Hudson River just after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City after engine failure due to multiple bird strikes, no fatalities.

The entire crew, including the captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, 57, a former fighter pilot who had been an airline pilot since leaving the Air Force in 1980, were awarded the Master's Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.

2008

January 17, British Airways Flight 38, a Boeing 777-200ER, lands short of the runway at London Heathrow Airport. Nine of the 152 people on board are treated for minor injuries, but there are no fatalities.

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