STUNNED eyewitnesses spoke of their shock today at seeing a light aircraft crash into a small back garden.
The Cirrus single-engine plane came to rest on conifer trees in Karen Dean’s back garden in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, after deploying a parachute.
The pilot, a 76-year-old man from London, suffered minor injuries during the incident.
Witnesses described hearing a loud noise and a whoosh of air before seeing the plane slowly crash land.
Jeannie Bowers, 46, was standing in her partner Adrian Phillips’s garden in Loweswater Close, Hatherley when she saw the incident unfold.
“I arrived to work and I was just making a coffee and I heard a plane in trouble,” she said.
“I looked up and there was a big pop and banging sound and then a whoosh of air.
“The parachute went up and the plane slowly came down towards the ground gently turning and hanging from this parachute just towards me.
“I just stood and watched it come down and it just gently came down and landed on the conifers in Karen’s garden.
“No one was hurt and it managed to miss every single building - the shed, the summer house and greenhouse.
“It’s just amazing how its come down and no one was hurt. It was very, very surreal. I can still see it coming down now.”
Ms Bowers, who works for her partner’s tree surgery business, added: “It was a very strange experience and I am just glad no one was hurt.”
Karen Dean, 50, spoke of the moment the plane crashed in her garden.
Ms Dean, a project manager for Boots, told the Gloucestershire Echo: “All I heard was a big bang. I was in the house at the time and I managed to get downstairs.
“I feel very lucky that it didn’t go through my house. I was in the house at the time but I didn’t see anything, I just heard a whirring sound.
“I’m quite in a bit of shock at the moment, you never think these things are going to happen to you.”
The plane was severely damaged in the crash that left one wing almost completely torn away with the other bent at a 90-degree angle at the tip.
The propeller was also bent after smashing into a concrete path where the plane came to rest.
Gloucestershire Police said no homes needed to be evacuated and the ambulance service said it was lucky that no one else other than the pilot had been hurt.
Spokesman John Oliver: “The pilot was very lucky. It was also lucky that no one else was injured, given where the pilot came down.
“There could have been a lot of casualties.”