The pilot of a Wingwalker aircraft in Poole Harbor deserves a medal during an air show, according to rescuers.
The two-seater biplane took part in the Bournemouth Air Festival on Saturday afternoon near Sandbanks.
Libby Chambers, her partner Alan Badenhorst and their three children had watched the air show from an inflatable boat and witnessed the crash.
“The pilot was straight ahead and I remember pulling the wingwalker out and she was really in quite a bit of shape – she was petrified and couldn’t stop screaming,” Mrs. Chambers told the Bournemouth Echo.
The family rescued the pilot and wingwalker and pulled them into their dinghy.
“The pilot was amazing, he deserves a medal – I have no idea how he missed the rocks, markings and boats – he was just out of this world,” added Ms. Chambers.
Dorset Police said the two crew members were slightly injured.
Eyewitness Gill Jarvis (50) from Christchurch was sitting with her daughter on an open bus when she saw the plane crash.
“We hadn’t quite left Swanage on the ferry and it just happened before our eyes,” she told the PA news agency.
“I think the engine was off and it was quiet. You couldn’t really hear anything like that. And then suddenly it went into the sea. “
She described the news of the crew’s survival as “a great relief”.
The organizers of the exhibition, which attracts thousands of people every year, said the flight schedule has been suspended for the rest of the day but will proceed as planned on Sunday.
Following the Saturday incident, the site was secured and the public is asked to avoid the area.
The aircraft will be recovered in due course, subject to the tides and port traffic.
“We would like to thank the RNLI, the Coast Guard, the South West Ambulance, the Dorset Police, the Poole Port Commissioners and everyone involved in rescuing the two people aboard the aircraft,” the organizers said.
“It is a great relief for everyone involved in the Air Festival that the incident resulted in the display crew being taken out of the water safely and safely.”
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