Pilot and passenger escape uninjured after an aeroplane crashes into a river in East Devon

These photos show the moments after an aeroplane this week crashed into the river in East Devon  after disappearing from radar and issuing a distress call for help.

Firefighters from three counties were on Tuesday (August 1) called to the Musbury area of East Devon, after reports a light aircraft had disappeared from the radar and was in the River Axe.

When the emergency services arrived they found the pilot and passenger uninjured and free from the aircraft, but stuck in the water because of the high river bank.


Firefighters from Devon, Dorset and Somerset attended the plane crash.
Photo: Bridport Fire Station.

East Devon

The light aircraft was in the river near Musbury.
Photo: Seaton Fire Station.

Firefighters passed lifejackets to the pair trapped in the water and set up a river protection system as a precaution against any spilled aviation fuel and oil.

Firefighters from Devon, Somerset and Dorset responded at around 2pm after a light aircraft made a Mayday call in the Seaton area.

The crews made their way to Beer Football Club, where the plane was last seen on local radar, but a search of the area proved unsuccessful.

Fire control received information the pair traveling in the aircraft were in the water and a military plane was circling their location.

A Seaton fire station spokesperson said: “Crews eventually located the light aircraft in the river towards Musbury.

“Once in attendance crews confirmed that both passengers were out of the aircraft uninjured but unable to exit from the plane due to the river bank.

“Crews managed to get life jackets to the two passengers and made the scene safe while also setting up down-stream protection.

“An Environmental Protection Unit was requested as a precaution as there was concern over fuel and oil leaking into the river.

“Using the 4×4 appliance from Bridport, crews managed to gain access to the other side of the river bank and safely extract the two passengers unharmed using an extension ladder.

“The two passengers were handed over to the ambulance service to be checked over and crews confirmed no fuel or oil had leaked into the river.

“The incident was handed over to the aircraft’s recovery team.”

East Devon

The pilot and passenger escaped uninjured.
Photo: Bridport Fire Station.

Firefighters from East Devon stations in Seaton, Colyton, Exmouth, plus Middlemoor, in Exeter, and colleagues from Yeovil, in Somerset, and Bridport, in Dorset, attended the crash scene after pinpointing the stricken aircraft’s location.

A Bridport fire station spokesperson said: “Seaton and Colyton were first on scene of the last known position but had no sighting of the downed plane.

“Further information came in that the passengers were out of the plane but stuck in water and unsure of their exact location.

“A military helicopter had picked up the Mayday call and was hovering above the crash site.

“Seaton and Colyton redeployed and found the plane in the river near Musbury.”


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