PUBLISHED: 21:15 18 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:11 12 August 2010
RESIDENTS feared another Farnborough as a light aircraft made an emergency landing just yards from a primary school.
RESIDENTS feared "another Farnborough" as a light aircraft made an emergency landing just yards from a primary school.
A Piper Cherokee, from the Surrey and Kent Flying Club, came down just 150m from Southborough Primary School in Bickley at 2.35pm on Tuesday.
A female trainee pilot, who was travelling alone, had just set off from Biggin Hill Airport before skimming just 5ft above houses and crash-landing three miles away in Parkfield Recreation Ground.
The pilot, in her 50s, scrambled free before emergency services came to her aid.
Last year five people died when a Cessna Citation 501 plummeted into a house in nearby Romsey Close, Farnborough, on its way to France.
Erica Tamas, 34, of Whitebeam Avenue, Bromley Common, was saying goodbye to a friend on the doorstep when she saw the plane flying close to the rooftops of the houses opposite as it came in to land.
She said: "I said: 'Look, that plane's very low!' and then saw it turn. It just missed a roof, then it turned and dropped and I heard a bang. It was like it was in slow motion.
"The first thing we thought about was Farnborough air crash. Thank goodness it was the summer holidays and there were no children at the school." Her mother, 71-year-old Marlene, who lives at the same address, added: "I got the shock of my life, I thought I was going to have a heart attack."
Ann Lane, 48, from Bromley Common raced to the scene when she heard a "massive bang".
She said: "I thought it was a plane but I was expecting to see smoke. I ran over and climbed through a hole in the fence. I saw a woman climbing out of the plane. A man appeared at the same time and she was talking to him, she seemed okay.
"It shakes you up, you feel sick but you don't have time to think."
A spokesman for Biggin Hill Airport said the pilot had a "miraculous escape".
Airport director Peter Lonergan said: "The woman is an accomplished student with more than 60 hours training under her belt. It was undoubtedly due to her skilful handling of the aircraft that she walked away from the scene with only minor injuries.
"Surrey and Kent Flying Club is a long established flying school on the airport with an excellent safety record."
A Bromley Police spokesman said: "A light aircraft had to make an emergency landing in Southborough Road in the grounds near the primary school. The female pilot suffered minor leg injuries and was treated by London Ambulance Service at the scene."
The London Ambulance Service sent an air ambulance, four ambulances and two officers to the scene and the pilot was treated for minor injuries to her ankle before she was taken to Princess Royal University Hospital.
At the time of going to press, police had cordoned off the area until the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) had checked the area and declared it safe. Its staff were expected to attend the scene on Thursday evening. Biggin Hill Airport staff confirmed that a full investigation into the incident will be carried out in due course.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bromley Times. Click the link in the orange box below for details.