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Pilot crash lands Spitfire at Biggin Hill Airport

Pilot crash lands Spitfire at Biggin Hill Airport Credit: PA Images

The pilot who crash landed a Spitfire at Biggin Hill Airport after it suffered engine trouble has been praised for his "textbook" emergency skills. Dan Griffith received shoulder and arm injuries when the Second World War fighter plane got in to difficulty soon after the 12.36pm take-off.

London Biggin Hill Airport said the pilot had reported a rough-running engine. A statement from Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Ltd, supporters club, said:

"Spitfire MK912 this afternoon suffered a loss of power after take-off and forced landed back on the airfield. The aircraft is badly damaged but pilot Dan Griffith carried out a textbook forced landing and is OK.

He brought the single engine plane down safely in an emergency landing on a grass area within the airport grounds."

– Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Ltd

Will Curtis, managing director of the airport company, said:

"Spitfires are very much a part of our heritage here at Biggin Hill and we must commend the pilot on his swift and decisive action in the circumstances. We look forward to seeing the aircraft flying again before too long."

– Will Curtis

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said:

"We treated one patient - a man in his 50s for shoulder and arm injuries. He was taken to King's College Hospital. His condition is not thought to be life threatening or changing."

– London Ambulance Service

Scotland Yard said that no-one else was on board when the single seater plane crash landed.

The Spitfire, which took part in the Battle of Britain 75 years ago, will be repaired and eventually returned to service. The airport is home base for the Heritage Hangar where a number of Hurricanes and Spitfires are restored and maintained. An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) spokesman said: "AAIB is aware and will be investigating."

Three puppies abandoned in cardboard box

These puppies are looking for a new home after they were abandoned Credit: Foal Farm Animal Rescue Centre

Vets treating three puppies abandoned in a cardboard box in Kent say it is one of the worst neglect cases they have ever seen. The dogs were left outside the Foal Farm Animal Rescue Centre in Biggin Hill with sores and high temperatures. It's believed they were left after they couldn't be sold by a dog breeder.

They were rushed to a vets for urgent treatment, suffering from mange, sores, worms and high temperatures.

It's probable that their siblings were sold before the hair loss - yet another example of irresponsible breeding, with the litter probably being sold on the internet with these 3 unable to be sold. The pictures are shocking but need to be seen - we, yet again, would urge people not to purchase puppies from internet sites and rescue instead.

– Spokesperson for Foal Farm Animal Rescue Centre

As well the puppies, a cockerel, two rabbits and an unneutured cat were left at Foal Farm

The public are being urged to donate towards the huge cost towards getting these puppies back to health.


Exclusive: Martin Shaw salutes RAF heroes

Actor and aviator Martin Shaw has spoken exclusively to ITV Meridian about his part in a musical tribute to the heroes of the Battle of Britain at Biggin Hill in Kent.

This was the most famous fighter base of World War Two and on Saturday thousands braved the rain to attend a concert staged at the current airport site saluting the wartime heroes of the RAF.

It featured music from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. Alongside them were singers, actors and big screens showing archive footage.

The ‘Musical Salute to the Few’ marked the first time an open air concert was held at the historic site.

The concert was narrated by Mr Shaw, star of numerous TV dramas and a keen aviator who enjoys flying vintage aircraft. He spoke to us about the concert, Biggin Hill and his passion for old planes.

He also mingled with veterans from the RAF and the Air Transport Auxiliary as crowds watched a flypast of RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft.

The airfield houses the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, one of the country's leading collections of historic Spitfire and Hurricanes.