Crewman killed when jet hit motorway

A CREW member on board the private jest aircraft that crashed onto a motorway in Cambridgeshire died but the plane missed hitting the Bank Holiday traffic.

A CREW member on board the private jest aircraft that crashed onto a motorway in Cambridgeshire died but the plane missed hitting the Bank Holiday traffic.

The two-seater L-39 jet came to a standstill across both carriages of the M11 motorway in Cambridgeshire after failing to stop on landing at Duxford Airfield.

It is believed its brakes had failed and it overshot the runway, careering onto the road. Fortunately, the privately-owned jet did not hit any cars on the normally busy motorway when the accident happened at 1.50pm yesterday .

One crew member ejected as the aircraft was heading towards the road, but was killed. A second person remained in the plane and walked away with minor injuries.

Crash investigators were last night examining the scene while the closure of both carriageways, between junctions 9 and 11, meant tailbacks stretched as far as three miles.

The Civil Aviation Authority was investigating the crash, Cambridgeshire police added.

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A police spokeswoman confirmed one person had been killed and another received minor injuries and shock in the crash.

The Essex-based plane, which was not part of a flying display, came to rest lying across both carriageways, she added.

Details of the two people on board were not being released until next of kin had been informed.

Yesterday evening, the red cream and black jet was resting on its side on the southbound carriageway of the M11. It was surrounded by foam sprayed on to the road by firefighters who, along with police, remained at the scene.

The jet crashed through a wooden fence at the bottom of the grassy airfield and then skidded across the northbound carriageway over the central reservation, bending it slightly, and coming to rest on the road surface.

The nose of the jet was facing down the road pointing north.

Ted Inman, director of the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, said the privately-owned plane was based at North Weald, near Harlow, Essex.

The aircraft was believed to have been paying a visit to the airfield.

He said: "It's sad that somebody's lost their life and I find it amazing that no one else has been involved.

"The air accident people will have to look at it and we will look at the implications with them and see if any lessons can be learned."

Mr Inman said the airfield was closed immediately after the accident and any aircraft using it were allowed to depart but no others came in.

The crash is the latest in a series at Duxford Airfield, home of the Imperial War Museum's aviation headquarters.

In July last year a pilot and a photographer escaped serious injury when the vintage T6 Harvard plane they were flying crashed during preparations for an historical aircraft show.

In October 1997, the last working Second World War German Messerschmitt Bf109 crashed at an airshow while being flown by one of the most senior officers in the RAF.

In July 1996 a vintage aeroplane plunged to the ground, killing its pilot instantly.

The L-39 jet involved in yesterday's crash was a standard training aircraft for the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries in the 1970s and 80s.

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