Thursday, 6 May 2010
UKIP's Nigel Farage: "I'm lucky to be alive after plane crash"
Ukip's Nigel Farage: 'I'm lucky to be alive after plane crash'
By Murray Wardrop and Richard Edwards for The Telegraph
Nigel Farage, the fomer Ukip leader, said he feels "lucky to be alive" after miraculously escaping a plane crash during an election stunt.
Mr Farage, was pulled semi-conscious from the wreckage with blood running down his swollen face after the light aircraft crashed upside down at Hinton-in-the-Hedges airfield, near Brackley, Northants.
Amazingly the politician, who is contesting Speaker John Bercow’s seat in Buckingham, walked away from the crash with only minor head injuries. The pilot, Justin Adams, was more seriously hurt but his condition is not said to be life-threatening.
In a statement, Mr Farage, who is recovering in hospital, said: "We've both had a miraculous escape. We are both very lucky to be alive."
The aircraft was pulling a purple and yellow Ukip banner which allegedly got caught up in the tail fin of the aircraft when it took off just after 8am. The banner carried the slogan "Vote for your country - Vote Ukip".
Mr Farage, 46, was found still strapped into his cockpit seat, bent double and face down under the plane. He was pulled from the tangled wreckage still dressed in a pin-stripe suit, blue shirt and tie, with a Ukip rosette attached.
Mr Farage, a Ukip MEP and the party’s chief spokesman, was first taken to Horton General Hospital in Banbury, suffering from minor head injuries.
Later he was transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he is expected to remain “for a few days”, a hospital spokeswoman said.
It means that Mr Farage will be unable to attend the count in the constituency he is contesting, which is due to take place on Friday morning.
Duncan Barkes, Mr Farage’s spokesman, said: “He is not going anywhere. There is no way he will be at the count.
"He's got two broken ribs, a small chip to his spine and damage to his sternum."
Mr Farage's wife Kirsten was at his bedside after the crash but later returned to their home in Westerham, Kent, to care for the couple's two children.
Mr Adams lost his shoes in the impact of the crash and was airlifted from the scene to Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, where his condition is described as “stable”.
Eyewitnesses told how the pilot and Mr Farage were in the front seats of the plane when it banked and suddenly plummeted. A worker at nearby Hinton Airfield said the crash happened seconds after take-off.
He said: “It actually came down on the airfield, I was working in the hanger when I saw everyone running down towards it.
“It is unusual for us to have a take off that early in the morning but the conditions were good and fine for flying.
“The plane itself was not broken up that much by the crash because it hadn't gone that far and luckily hadn't got too high.
“Everyone was on the scene very quickly and it's good the pilot and the passenger both seem to have escaped relatively unscathed.”
Moments before take-off, Mr Farage had joked: “I just hope the plane doesn’t blow up and crash.”
Mr Barkes added: "Of course he's shaken up, but he is mostly feeling incredibly lucky to get out of the plane.
"As soon as he came out he wanted a cigarette. You wouldn't expect anything else really.
"He's just been worried about the pilot. Yes it's May 6, but today is about people, not politics."
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has launched an inquiry into the crash, which happened just after 8am.
The crash is also being investigated by Northamptonshire Police.
Speaking from the scene, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Kinchin said: "Looking at the wreckage behind me, I think you can make your own judgment as to how lucky they were.
"The people inside the plane were lucky to come out with not very serious injuries."
Mr Bercow, who was out campaigning on Thursday afternoon, said: “I was concerned to learn of this morning's crash. I wish Nigel Farage and his pilot a full and speedy recovery."
Prior to the crash, the single-engine Polish plane - a PZL-104 Wilga (Golden Oriole) - had circled the airfield six times as it tried unsuccessfully to hook up a 15ft UKIP banner, which was tethered to the ground.
When it engaged it at the seventh attempt, the plane circled for another five minutes before the incident unfolded.
Simon Moores, a pilot and operations director of Airads, an aerial advertising company, said he believed turbulence could have caused the accident.
He said the banner should have been attached to the plane by swooping in and picking up a towing line with a hook connected to the rear of the aircraft.
Mr Moores, who has more than 1,000 hours' experience flying with aerial banners, said: "Coming in that low to the ground, you can sometimes suffer a bit of unexpected turbulence.
"In those circumstances, it is possible to get the line snared on either the tail fin or the elevators, which is what appears to have happened in this case.
"If that happens, the weight of the banner can pull either the rudder or the elevator and pull the aircraft out of control."
I'm not saying a word. It's probably nothing.
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- ▼ May 2010 (69)
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And You Tell Me There's No Suppressed Technology?
It's another of those 'conspiracy theories' that good citizens don't notice. Imagine the standard of living if all the secret technology was released to the public...we'd be "free and independent" as JFK said! No more poverty anywhere! Can you imagine being sick enough to withhold such technology from society just to maintain your position of control? (Bearing in mind that we don't know just how much technological capability is being withheld, because, duh, it's secret.) What did Nikola Tesla really develop?
Individual Liberty? But that's "selfish"!
No, we need to look after each other voluntarily without having a government do all that at gunpoint. Sounds absurd at first but soon you realise that the reason it sounds so is because of the very unfree nature of our current existence. Envision greater possibilities! Ok, some kind of massive wake-up would be needed before this kind of free, responsible, uncontrollable society could emerge. And that's what we are seeing day by day in the world - a massive waking up of the previously enslaved masses (including myself I must add!)