A PILOT has been killed after the light aircraft he was flying crashed after clipping a power line between Stamford and Peterborough.
The red and white aircraft clipped a cable between two electricity pylons over the A1 before crashing to the ground just short of Sibson Airfield as it came into land at around 2.15pm yesterday.
Cambridgeshire police have confirmed that the pilot, who was flying alone, was killed in the crash but could not reveal more information as he has not yet been formally identified.
The plane was registered to an airport in Belgium.
There were chaotic scenes on the roads after the A1 was closed as a precaution between the A47 at Wansford and the A605 at Haddon, while National Grid engineers repaired the damage cable.
The stretch of road is expected to remain closed until midday today.
The plane landed just 200 yards from the Sibson Inn Hotel on the A1 with business manager Mark Prime informed of the crash by a guest.
He said: “We were alerted by a diner who saw the crash. The hotel manager called the airfield who had already called the ambulance. The air ambulance was on the scene pretty quickly.
“Diners saw the plane clip the cable and they thought they saw the wing come off. The plane came down in a hedge about 200 yards south of the hotel. There was no fire or smoke.
“We get planes coming by us all day long. They have to manoeuvre over the pylons and look like they are flying pretty close. It’s one of the hazards you have to deal with when you land.”
Hotel manager Simon Black, who is also an amateur pilot, was the first person to call the emergency services and he said the pylons are a hazard for pilots approaching the landing strip.
He said: “The diners ran in shouting that a plane had dropped out of the sky. You can see where the plane hit the cable.
“As a student at the airfield I hated flying across those pylons because they are so tall.
“The top cable is a single strand and is especially difficult to see in bright sunshine. The pilot would have been flying into the sun.
“It’s very easy to get it wrong. I am surprised they hadn’t wrapped it in red and white tape to make it more visible.
“You have to drop down quickly after the pylons to catch the runway.”
Another witness to the crash was Werrington resident Paul Church (64), who was in the spectator area of Sibson Airfield when it happened.
Mr Church, who was watching parachutists landing with his eight-year-old grandson Nicholas when the crash happened, said: “I could see this red and white plane coming into land, when I saw it clip one of the cables between the pylons.
“It then fell to one side and fell out of view behind some trees. There were about 20 people watching at the airfield and the initial feeling among everyone was of disbelief.”
A fire rescue vehicle from Dogsthorpe, two fire engines from Peterborough, two ambulances and a police helicopter were called to the scene after the crash.
There were massive delays on the A47 from Wansford to Longsthorpe; while there was also gridlock on the A1260 Nene Parkway junction at Hampton, with traffic stretching all the way through to the A15 at Yaxley as motorists attempted to join the A1(M) at Norman Cross.
Motorists looking to leave the popular Burghley Horse Trials, at Burghley House just off the A1, were allowed to stay later so as not to get stuck in the congestion and were given directions to avoid the A1 southbound.