Helicopter crashes in grounds of Spalding's Anglia Motel

The wreckage of a helicopter that collided with a metal lamp post in Fleet Hargate in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
Damage to a helicopter that collided with a metal lamp post in Fleet Hargate in Spalding, Lincolnshire. Credit: JWK Group

A helicopter pilot and passenger had to be rescued after their aircraft hit a floodlight during take-off.

The helicopter was leaving the Anglia Motel, at Fleet Hargate near Spalding in Lincolnshire, on Sunday afternoon when its rotors struck a tall lamp standard on grassland at the rear of the building on Washway Road.

It fell to the ground and the engine caught fire, prompting motel staff to tackle the blaze with fire extinguishers.

The pilot and passenger were successfully rescued, and were unhurt.

Among the eyewitnesses was motel owner and well-known local fundraiser Harold Payne, who said the duo had been "very, very lucky".

He said: "The helicopter has been here hundreds of times but as he took off the sun was in his eyes and he didn't realise there was a big lamp standard. He hit it with his blades.

"He was just taking off so he was only six feet off the ground. They were very, very lucky. Everybody is okay. It just shook them up.

"But it caught on fire. The engine was still running and they couldn't get out because the blades kept going round."

A helicopter that caught fire when it struck a floodlight pole at the Anglia Motel in Spalding. Credit: JWK Group

He added: "I couldn't believe the damage. The blades just ripped the lamp standard out of the ground and cut it in half.

"It also ripped the door off the helicopter."

Mr Payne, 83, who has raised more than £1million for Second World War veterans, had just accepted a £1,000 cheque towards his latest memorial event when the accident happened.

The concert, on Sunday, will commemorate Allied soldiers who were stationed in Lincolnshire prior to D-Day in 1944.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service said it attended a helicopter crash on Washway Road, Fleet, Spalding at 1.41pm on Sunday.

It added: "Severe fire damage to 100% of the engine of the helicopter. Fire out on arrival, crews inspected the scene. Caused by a collision with a lamp post."

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