A pilot and two passengers have been rushed to hospital after an aircraft crashed on the runway at an airport in Teesside this morning.
Teesside International Airport is closed after the incident this morning at 9.39am and the injured three were taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough.
Witnesses said the plane’s engine began to ‘sputter’ shortly after take off and sounded like it cut out before landing back on the runway and veering off to the left.
One of the people onboard had to be airlifted to the hospital while the other two were also taken for treatment.
One passenger suffered ‘serious injuries’ according to the ambulance service.
Investigations are underway and the airport said it will remain closed all weekend but remains ‘hopeful’ it can reopen on Monday.
A pilot and two passengers have been rushed to hospital after an aircraft crashed on the runway at Teesside International Airport at 9.39am this morning
A witness told TeessideLive: ‘I heard the plane engine start to sputter, then looked up to see it bank left sharply.
‘The engine sounded like it was really struggling, then it just seemed to cut out.
‘It looked like the pilot managed to keep the plane fairly level as it started to come down, but then it just dropped rapidly, then I heard a thud behind the tree line.
‘Thankfully there was no explosion or fire. I phoned the emergency services immediately, and the air ambulance arrived about 20 to 30 minutes later.
‘I just hope those onboard are okay.’
Witnesses said the planes engine began to ‘sputter’ shortly after take off and sounded like it cut out before landing back on the runway and veering off to the left
Rob Cherrie, general manager at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said that the light aircraft ‘had taken off then come back down again very quickly’.
Mr Cherrie, who was incident commander at the scene, said: ‘I wouldn’t like to speculate on why that occurred.’
He said that fire crews had been forced to cut the three people out of the plane.
There were passengers at the airport waiting to board flights at the time of the crash.
‘I wouldn’t say it’s the busiest airport but there were passengers present – by the time we went on to the runway it was closed and flights had been diverted up to Newcastle etc.’
Investigations are underway and the airport said it will remain closed ‘until further notice’
The fire service sent two fire engines to the scene, while two of the airport’s own appliances had been part of the response, Mr Cherrie said.
Teesside International Airport said: ‘Following an incident involving a light aircraft this morning (Saturday), we will remain closed for the weekend so the Air Accident Investigation Branch can carry out a thorough investigation.
‘We are hopeful the airport will reopen on Monday 27 September.
‘As a result of this closure, Loganair will be contacting customers affected with details on how to claim a full refund or rebook an alternative date.
‘They request that customers do not phone Loganair at this time.’
‘We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank all of our passengers who have been very understanding today.
‘All of our thoughts and prayers are with the three people onboard at the time of the incident and their families.’
Fire crews were also sent to the scene. One of the people onboard had to be airlifted to the hospital while the other two were also taken for treatment
Earlier it said: ‘We can confirm an incident occurred today involving a light aircraft at 9.39am.
‘A pilot and two passengers were onboard and have been taken to hospital. We would like to thank the emergency services, on site staff for their quick response.’
Durham Police confirmed it is investigating the ‘incident’ and the runway will remain closed until officers have finished.
It said: ‘Officers are currently on scene at Teesside International Airport following an incident involving a light aircraft.
‘The runway is currently closed while an investigation is carried out.’
Great North Air Ambulance Service said it airlifted one patient to the hospital after arriving within 10 minutes.
A spokesperson told the Northern Echo: ‘We have attended an incident at Teesside Airport this morning. We were on the scene within 10 minutes of being alerted.
‘We airlifted one patient to hospital.’
The ambulance service added: ‘We had a doctor and paramedic on board, and we got to the scene quickly from our base in Eaglescliffe.’
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen Tweeted: ‘Thoughts and prayers are with the three people onboard at the time of the incident and their families.
‘At this time I want to thank the incredible response by the airport fire service and the immediate response of local emergency services to the incident.’
The Air Accident Investigation Branch said: ‘An accident at Teesside International Airport involving a light aircraft has been notified to the AAIB.
‘An investigation has been launched and a multidisciplinary team of inspectors are on their way to the accident site.’