1. ITV Report

70-year-old pilot talks about his 'extraordinary escape' after he had to bail out of his glider above Cambridgeshire

Andrew Preston was above the Cambridgeshire countryside when his glider was involved in a collision. Photo:

A 70-year-old pilot from Milton Keynes has been talking about his 'extraordinary escape' after he had to bail out of his glider above Cambridgeshire.

Things went horribly wrong for Andrew Preston when he collided with another glider above Little Paxton last Saturday. He's been telling Claire McGlasson about the moment he realised he was in trouble.

Picture shows Andrew parachuting from his glider.
Andrew landed in a wheat field at Little Paxton in St Neots.

"There was an almighty bang and my world turned upside down. The glider turned upside down and I knew that I was in serious trouble."

– Andrew Preston

Andrew Preston was 5000 ft above the Cambridgeshire countryside when his glider was involved in a mid-air collision.

Pictures captured the moment he jettisoned the canopy, unclipped his harness and literally fell - headfirst - out of the glider.

Seconds later his parachute opened.

The moment Andrew jumped from his glider.

"Bits of glider are falling around me and it did cross my mind that if a big piece hit the parachute I would be in trouble but everything was ok so I continued down to earth slowly. And there were houses, there was a river, there were trees, there were powerlines none of which would have been an attractive landing."

– Andrew Preston

Instead Andrew landed in a wheat field at Little Paxton in St Neots A lucky escape until he realised he was in the path of a combine harvester.

"I was around 50 yards in front of a working combine, and after such a horrendous accident I did not want to get combine. So I pulled myself together in spite of the fact I was winded and bruised, crawled off to the side and the combine sailed straight by me without stopping."

– Andrew Preston
The two gliders flying close together.

"Before I saw the pictures I had the slight anxiety that maybe I should have tried to fly the glider rather than just jumping out, but looking at the pictures I can see that trying to fly a one-winged glider with half the tail missing would have been not a very good plan."

– Andrew Preston