Witnesses describe horrifying moment plane 'sputtered and stalled' before crashing into field

Investigators were at the scene of the crash Credit: ITV News

Witnesses have described how the engine of a small plane "sputtered" and seemed to stall mid-air before crashing into a Shropshire field, killing the two people inside.

Air accident investigators were today on the scene after the crash - described as the “worst” witnesses had ever seen - over the Bank Holiday.

The pilot and passenger, who have not yet been formally identified, were flying to Shifnal Airfield when the light aircraft began to struggle as it made a sharp turn towards the runway.

People who saw the crash told ITV News they heard "sputtering" and what sounded like the engine stalling, before the plane fell to the ground.

One man - himself an experienced pilot - saw the plane plummet to the ground and tried to help those inside.

“It was the worst thing I've seen,” said the man, who did not wish to be named.

“I tried to get to them, to get them out, but you just couldn’t. It was horrendous. I think that’s what is most upsetting - we just couldn’t get to them to see if they were okay.”

The pair were pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene of the crash, which happened off Shaw Lane, Shifnal, shortly before 5pm yesterday.

One pilot told ITV News that landing conditions would have been tricky at the hillside airfield, with crosswinds of around 15mph.

"That's really blustery, very difficult for a small plane to cope with," he said.

"I definitely wouldn't have chosen to fly in winds like that, if I could help it."

Crosswinds of 15mph were recorded at the airfield Credit: ITV News

A resident who lives nearby said she had been in her garden when she heard the commotion.

Barbara Shell - who used to work for the RAF - said she had immediately recognised something was wrong, but said as she had not heard anything else, she had not realised the aircraft had crashed.

The plane crashed near Shifnal Airfield Credit: ITV News

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has now launched a formal investigation.

Three officers were sent to the area to interview witnesses throughout the day and gather evidence from the scene.

They were hoping to be able to remove the wreckage of the crash this evening - and forensic examinations will then take place to try to get to to the bottom of what caused the plane to fall from the sky.