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Two survive as plane crash lands on Suffolk sandbank

PUBLISHED: 23:44 01 September 2010 | UPDATED: 09:50 16 September 2010

Jon Welch

Two people were airlifted to hospital last night after a light aircraft crash landed onto a sand bank off Orfordness on the Suffolk coast.

The plane crashed at North Shipwash off Orfordness at just after 6.

Two people were airlifted to hospital last night after a light aircraft crash landed onto a sand bank off Orfordness on the Suffolk coast.

The plane crashed at North Shipwash off Orfordness at just after 6.30pm.

The air sea rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham airlifted two people from the wreckage of the plane and took them to Ipswich Hospital.

The Aldeburgh and Harwich lifeboats were also launched and sent to the scene of the crash about three miles off Orfordness.

The Cessna PA32 plane crashed at North Shipwash off Orfordness just after 6.30pm.

Thames Coastguard received a Mayday call at 6.32pm to reports of a light aircraft ditching into the water with between three and four people on board.

The RAF Rescue Helicopter 125 from Wattisham and a search and rescue helicopter from Belgium were immediately called, along with RNLI all weather lifeboats from Aldeburgh and Harwich and the RNLI inshore lifeboat from Harwich to the last reported position of the aircraft.

When the Wattisham crew arrived at the scene there was no sight of the plane but the crew quickly spotted two men in a dingy floating nearby.

They were winched to safety and taken to Ipswich Hospital for further medical attention.

Sgt Andy Carnell said the men appeared to be cold and wet but were “seemingly in good health.”

He said the aircraft was travelling in a north westerly direction but it is unknown where the plane was travelling from or its final destination.

Sgt Carnell said: “The men said they had to ditch into the sea because of serious engine failure.

“They knew it was coming because the engine started to make a strange noise. It enabled them to make a controlled ditching.”

The lifeboats arrived at the scene shortly after the search and rescue crews and scoured the water for debris from the wreckage.

Thames Coastguard Watch Manager Karen Paradise said: “The two people in the light aircraft are incredibly fortunate.

“As the result of the skills of the Rescue Helicopter crew this incident was brought to a swift and successful conclusion.”

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