Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Plane crash hero saves his family

A former hunt master and his family escaped a brush with death – after he was forced to crash land his private plane.

The Right Honorable Johnny Greenall, son of the Baron of Daresbury, his wife Laura and three children walked away unscathed after their plane plunged from the sky shortly after taking off from Tatenhill Airfield, near Burton.

It is the second time in ten years that Johnny, younger brother of Lord Daresbury – chairman of Aintree racecourse – has survived such a crash.

Mike Shelton, manager of Tatenhill Airfield, confirmed the Air Accident Investigation Branch had been informed of the crash but responding to claims the plane had struck a flock of birds, he said it was ‘too early to know’.

He said: “I didn’t see the crash myself.

“We can’t move the plane yet as it’s deep inside a 6ft-high maize field about half-a-mile away from the airfield. It is certainly a write-off though.”

Ten years ago, experienced pilot Mr Greenall talked about seeing his life ‘flash before him’ when he had another miraculous escape after former jockey Willie Carson’s plane, which he was piloting, careered out of the sky into the Rift Valley in Africa.

This time, the couple and their three young children were en route to see family aboard a six-seater Beechcraft turbo-prop.

“We’ve had a very lucky escape,” said Laura, granddaughter of the Earl of Feversham, speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper following the recent crash, which took place on Friday.

“We’re all very shaken up but once we hit technical trouble, Johnny was incredible and somehow crash-landed safely in a field.

“There was no time to lose – we crawled through the doors and ran for our lives in case it blew up.

“As a mother, I am so relieved the children all came out alive.

“But when it happened we could all have died, yet there was no time to cuddle them or even say a prayer. It was absolutely awful.

“During those truly tense seconds when it could all have been over, my husband kept his cool and saved our lives,” said Mr Greenall’s wife, who lives with him at stately Wootton Hall on the edge of the Peak District, where she runs the Duncombe Arms gastro pub.

“We don’t yet know the cause of the accident, but Johnny had nerves of steel to keep it together while we dropped out of the sky.”

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