Plane crash pilot is owner of posh watch company

The scene of the light aircraft crash at Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire. Photo: ITV Anglia

The pilot of a vintage aircraft that crashed into the grounds of an Elizabethan manor house in Northamptonshire is the owner of a high-end watch company with a string of celebrity clients.

Bremont Watch Company said its director Giles English did an "incredible job" of getting the aircraft down after it suffered an engine failure.

It also named his passenger as 11-year-old Oliver Nuttall, who sustained serious injuries in the accident near Canons Ashby House, near Northampton, at 11.45am yesterday.

A statement from the company, which makes watches worn by Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom and Hugh Laurie, said: "We are sorry to say that yesterday morning Giles English and his young passenger, Oliver Nuttall, were involved in a vintage aircraft accident near to their home airfield in Northamptonshire, following an engine failure."

Nick and Giles English of the Bremont Watch Company Credit: Bremont Watch Company

"They were only a mile away from landing and reports are that Giles did an incredible job at putting the aircraft down in some very difficult terrain.

"Both pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries but thankfully are both on the road to recovery."

– Statement from Bremont Watch Company

Oliver was airlifted to Birmingham Children's Hospital while Mr English was treated for his injuries at the scene of the accident at the National Trust-run Canons Ashby House.

A message on the manor house's Twitter feed said: "Our thoughts are with those affected by the light aircraft crash today in the parkland. Nothing was damaged in the house or gardens."

It also tweeted: "Thankfully no visitors have been affected and the property is undamaged. Our thoughts go out to the injured and their families."

According to an eyewitness the aircraft fell from the sky and narrowly missed falling into a lake Credit: ITV Anglia

According to the Bremont company website, Mr English founded the company in 2002 with his brother Nick. Its aviation-inspired watches were launched in 2007 after five years of development.

Their inspiration comes from a "joint lifetime love and passion for engineering and aviation", the website says.

The brothers were taught to fly by their ex-RAF pilot father Euan English, who was a PHD student of aeronautical engineering at Cambridge. He was killed on March 4, 1995 while training with son Nick for an air show in their Second World War Harvard plane.

They got stuck in an inverted spin and the aircraft was involved in a "horrendous accident".

Nick English broke more than 30 bones and his father was killed, the company's website said.

After the accident the two brothers ran the family aviation business and set about forming the watch company.

Bremont Watch Company said Giles English did an "incredible job" of getting the aircraft down after engine failure. Credit: ITV Anglia

Following the latest accident, a woman who lives near the scene, who declined to be named, said she saw a plane fall from the sky, narrowly missing a lake in the grounds of the manor.

She added: "It was a biplane, and suddenly the engine cut out. It just spiralled out of the sky. It's a good job it didn't come down in the lake."

Ben Nichols, 19, who lives at nearby Lodge Farm in the village, was with sister Zara, 20, when they saw the plane spiral to the ground .

"We were working the sheep at the time," said Mr Nichols.

"Then we saw this two-seater biplane. It was whirling around a bit, looked like it tried to do a loop. Then the engine cut out. It spiralled down a bit, regained a bit of control and landed with a thud."

He added: "When I went down it looked like it had had a good landing, given the circumstances. The cockpit was a bit smashed up with one of the wings but not as bad as we first thought."

Ms Nichols added that the plane "hadn't left a mark where it landed so it must have gone straight".

Her brother said it landed "on the flat", yards from a fishing lake and a line of trees, and not far from ridges and furrows in the land.

"He obviously picked the right spot."

He said it was not unusual to get planes flying over the area, which is not far from several airfields.

The wreckage of the white and red plane has been loaded on to a lorry to be taken away.

Northamptonshire Police said Mr English was airlifted to Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry for treatment following the crash.

Neither he nor his young passenger were thought to have life-threatening injuries.