Archant executive killed in plane crash

POLICE today named the man killed when an aircraft hit a crop-spraying tractor and crashed at an East Anglian airfield as Ian Davies.

POLICE today named the man killed when an aircraft hit a crop-spraying tractor and crashed at an East Anglian airfield as Ian Davies.

The 49-year-old married father-of-two, from Topcroft near Bungay in Norfolk, was director of Business Development for Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times publisher Archant.

The two-seater aeroplane he was travelling in burst into flames after the accident which happened as it approached the runway to land at Seething Airfield in South Norfolk shortly before 2pm yesterday.

Fire crews cut two casualties free from the shattered fuselage and paramedics tried to resuscitate the men.

One man, a 51-year-old, was airlifted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with critical injuries, but Mr Davies was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Davies worked for various parts of the Archant operation since 1990 and previously held responsibilities in market research, marketing, and as managing director of the commercial radio investment subsidiary.

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Prior to joining Archant, he worked as a journalist, radio presenter and producer, and television news reader.

The tractor driver, named as Andrew Hill, escaped serious injury but was recovering at home after being treated for shock. The aircraft came to a halt 30ft from his vehicle, which was on a field next to the runway.

Norfolk police said the matter had now been passed to the Air Accident Investigation Branch who will carry out a full investigation into the cause.

Paul Bassett, a senior officer with the East of England Ambulance Service, said Mr Hill was lucky to walk away from the accident.

“From speaking to him, he didn't see the aircraft coming,” said Mr Bassett. “He heard the bang and wondered what it was. It was a lucky escape.

“The tractor was spraying the field. It remained upright. The only damage that I could see was to the large plastic truck which carries the liquid to put on to the field.”

Norfolk Fire Service watch manager Richard McGonagle said a fire broke out following the crash but it was dealt with by airfield staff.

“There was significant debris on the start of the approach to the runway and evidence of a collision with the agricultural vehicle.

“The aircraft was barely recognisable. The debris field suggests the aircraft collided with the crop-spraying tractor before it hit the ground.”