By Andrew Atkinson LEADER EXCLUSIVE
Teesside International Airport will be closed until September 27 after an accident left three people hospitalised on Saturday.
“We are due to land at Alicante-Elche Airport at 10.15pm September 27 from Teesside, but there was a plane crash on Saturday morning,” Sally Johnson told The Leader.
Sally and husband Nigel are visiting their home in Los Montesinos for the first time in a year.
“The airport are hoping to re-open on Monday – but if not they will bus us to Newcastle Airport,” added Sally, from Richmond, North Yorkshire.
An investigation is being carried out into the incident, which has closed the airport’s runway.
A statement on the airport’s website said: “We can confirm an incident occurred on Saturday involving a light aircraft at 9.39am.
“A pilot and two passengers were onboard and have been taken to hospital.
“Our runway will remain closed until further notice while a thorough investigation is carried out.
“We would like to thank the emergency services, on site staff for their quick response.
“Following an incident involving a light aircraft we will remain closed for the weekend so the Air Accident Investigation Branch can carry out a thorough investigation.
“We are hopeful the airport will reopen on Monday 27 September.
“As a result of this closure, Loganair will be contacting customers affected with details on how to claim a full refund or rebook an alternative date.
“They request that customers do not phone Loganair at this time.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank all of our passengers who have been very understanding.
“All of our thoughts and prayers are with the three people onboard at the time of the incident and their families.”
One witness said: “I heard the plane engine start to sputter, then looked up to see it bank left sharply.
“The engine sounded like it was really struggling, then it just seemed to cut out.
“It looked like the pilot managed to keep the plane fairly level as it started to come down, but then it just dropped rapidly, then I heard a thud behind the tree line.
“Thankfully there was no explosion or fire. I phoned the emergency services immediately, and the air ambulance arrived about 20 to 30 minutes later. I just hope those onboard are OK.”
It was alleged that the aircraft had climbed to around 300ft before it came down.
One of those injured in the incident has suffered serious injuries according to officials.
The North East Ambulance Service has confirmed that it took two of the casualties to hospital by road, and one went by air ambulance.
A spokesperson said one person had serious injuries.
A hazard area response team was sent to the scene, along with an ambulance and a specialist paramedic.
Rob Cherrie, who was the commander from the Fire service at the scene said: “Along with the two appliances and rescue unit sent, the airport also sent two appliances.
“It is believed the incident occurred when the flight was taking off.”
A spokesperson for Loganair confirmed that while it was operating three flights from Teesside on Saturday, the accident didn’t involve an aircraft from its fleet.
It confirmed that passengers have been contacted and advised that they will be accommodated on the next and best available flight.
“We have apologised to them for the inconvenience but emphasised that this is a situation out with our control,” said a spokesperson.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen Tweeted his support for those onboard the flight.
“Thoughts and prayers are with the three people onboard at the time of the incident and their families.
“At this time I want to thank the incredible response by the airport fire service and the immediate response of local emergency services to the incident.”
Newcastle International Airport confirmed four flights, due to land at Teesside, were likely to land there as long as the runway remains closed.
Great North Air Ambulance confirmed that it airlifted one patient to hospital from the incident.
A spokesperson said: “We had a doctor and paramedic on board, and we got to the scene quickly from our base in Eaglescliffe.”