Plane in air show flips upon crash-landing in sea, spectators rush to help; video

A pilot in a single-engine plane performing in the Herne Bay air show in Britain on Sunday was forced to make a mayday call and ditch the aircraft in the sea after experiencing engine problems.

Aviation enthusiast Richard Burgess was filming atop a bluff over the beach in Kent and captured the moment the small plane with an open cockpit hit the water wheels first then flipped nose-first onto its back.

"The engine sounded very thick and unhappy and I suddenly realized he was flying below the level I was standing," Burgess told The Telegraph. "The wheels dug into the water and the plane just flipped.

"The pilot was under the water and that's when the spectators rushed out and flipped it back over."

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The pilot picked a fortunate spot to ditch the plane. It was close to the beach where nobody was in the water, and there were spectators nearby.

"He hit the water quite hard," Gary Mills, a witness, told the Daily Mail. "If he was a bit further out I don't think he would have made it because he had flipped over. He was strapped in so if the people hadn't flipped the plane he couldn't have got out."

Spectators on the beach were quick to the rescue, pushing the plane upright where the pilot was out of the water in less than 25 seconds.

At the 3:6 mark of Burgess's video, as posted in the Daily Mirror, the pilot is helped out of the plane and taken to shore amid applause. The plane was also dragged to the beach.

Soon, emergency services arrived, including the South East Ambulance Service, HM Coastguard and The Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

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The shaken pilot, said to be in his 70s, sustained only minor injuries.

"His face looked pretty smashed up and bloody," Burgess told The Telegraph. "It must have hit the dashboard."

The airshow, featuring 22 display teams and 47 aircraft, resumed after being suspended for about 30 minutes following the incident.

The pilot was treated at the scene before being taken to a nearby hospital.

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