A pilot and his three passengers clambered out of the wreckage after their light aircraft crashed next to the M62 moments after taking off from City Airport in Eccles, Greater Manchester, this morning.
The Piper Cherokee took off in bad weather at around 9.30am and ditched in a field beside the M62 after the pilot had decided to turn back.
An air ambulance took the the pilot the short distance to the City Airport helipad. He was then taken by a road ambulance to Salford Royal Hospital for treatment for a head injury that is not thought to be serious.
One of the passengers wasn’t injured at all while the others were described as ‘walking wounded’ by the emergency services and were treated by paramedics at the scene.
Four fire engines, ambulances and the airport’s own fire service were scrambled to the field off Barton Moss Road at 9.34am.
The aircraft had crashed in a part of the field about 100 metres from the motorway.
A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Fire Service confirmed there were three ‘walking wounded’ who had ‘self rescued’ before the emergency services arrived.
She confirmed accident investigators were also sent and had already started a probe into the crash.
Firefighters spent an hour and 15 minutes at the scene, she said. Officials from the Environment Agency have also been summoned as about 100 litres of aviation fuel have leaked from the crashed aircraft into the field. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said its officers had also been called to the scene.
The plane had taken off in poor conditions and then crashed into the field after the pilot had decided to turn back, he confirmed.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is expected to expected to publish a report into the incident.
A statement from City Airport (formerly known as Barton Aerodrome) said: “At 0935 a PA28 aircraft took off from City Airport (Barton) with four persons on board. The aircraft subsequently made a precautionary landing in a field approximately 1/2 mile west of the airport.
“The Airport Fire Service, GM Fire & Rescue Service and North West Air Ambulance attended the scene. One person was taken to hospital by land vehicle for checks of minor injuries. The AAIB (Air Accident Investigation Branch) have been informed of the occurrence and the incident and GM Police are conducting an investigation.”