A pilot narrowly escaped with his life yesterday when he managed to bail out of his Second World War plane after a mid-air collision at an air show.

Thousands of people watched as the P-51 Mustang plane clipped wings at the annual display show and plummeted to the ground south-west of RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire.

Pilot Rob Davies parachuted to safety following the mid-air accident at the Flying Legends show, which happened after three planes had formed a triangle in the sky.

The other plane involved in the accident - a Douglas A-1 Skyraider - was able to land safely despite suffering wing damage.



Mark Brown, a pilot from Warminster, witnessed the crash and told CambridgeFirst how the second plane lost a 'large chunk of its wing tip', which fell to the ground.

He said the crash happened as three planes peeled left after forming a triangle.

'As they did that the leader and the one that was following clipped each other,' he said. 'It went into a bit of a dive then sorted itself out. The other aircraft dived away from the airfield. They were only about 100 feet at this point.

'Then we saw someone jump out and a parachute open.'

A spokesman for the show's organisers, Imperial War Museum Duxford, said: 'The pilots of both aircraft are safe and have been treated by the Ambulance Service.

'The cause of the incident will now be investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch and the museum is therefore not able to comment on the likely cause.'

The Flying Legends airshow at the aerodrome, home of the Imperial War Museum Duxford, featured Spitfires flying together with 'Buchon' Messerschmitt-style fighters for the first time since the making of the famous 1968 movie Battle Of Britain.

Duxford Aerodrome played a vital role in defending British shores from German bombers during the Battle of Britain. On average 60 Spitfires and Hurricanes were dispersed around Duxford and RAF Fowlmere every day.

It's location, close to Luftwaffe targets in north London, made it a vital base for fighter units scrambling to intercept German bombers crossing from the European mainland.

Today, the aerodrome is one of the Imperial War Museum's five sites across the country, where exhibits too large for its London headquarters are stored, restored and displayed.

Over the weekend, more than 55 aircraft participated in the war plane displays, which were jointly organised with the Fighter Collection.

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