Plane which crashed near M1 at Hucknall owned by Merlin Flying Club based at Rolls-Royce

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Hucknall’s Merlin Flying Club is ‘deeply distressed’ following a plane crash on Saturday lunchtime which killed two people when it came down in a field close to the M1.

The Cessna F150L light aircraft, which was owned by the club, crashed in a field near junction 26 and 27 of the M1 motorway, at Watnall, shortly after take off from Hucknall’s Rolls-Royce airfield.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue, East Midlands Ambulance Service and the Police attended the scene and later confirmed that there were two fatal casualties.

The club, which only last weekend held their popular annual Merlin Flying Pageant at the Watnall Road base which attracted hundreds of air enthusiasts, is shocked and saddened by what happened.

“The club is deeply distressed by this tragic accident,” said club member Nigel Perkins. “The club want to send our sincere condolences to the families of the two people who died.”

The East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) sent specialist crews to the scene as soon as they were alerted.

“Frontline staff responded to an incident involving a light aircraft which came down close to the M1 between junctions 26 and 27,” said an EMAS spkesman in a statement released on Saturday. “We received the call at 1.24pm and immediately dispatched a range of resources including specially trained staff from our Hazardous Area Response Team, the Derbyshire Leicestershire Air Ambulance, conventional ambulances, solo responders and incident managers.

“The first resource arrived on scene at 1.30pm. We can confirm that there were two casualties. Officers from Nottinghamshire Police and staff from the Air Accident Investigation Branch are now managing the scene.”

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police added: “I can confirm that a plane came down clear of the motorway near junction 26 of the M1.

“The police, fire service and ambulance service attended and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch will be investigating this incident.”

Merlin Flying Club was set up by former employees of Rolls-Royce and their families principally with the purpose of learning to fly.

The club was formed over 50 years ago and operates from the airfield on Rolls-Royce’s Hucknall site during the weekends only.

The field is maintained and operated by the club members on a voluntary basis; these tasks range from club house duties, aircraft cleaning to grass cutting and manning the fire and rescue crews.

This carries on, the so far 97 year history of flying training being conducted from the airfield.

However, the future of the club is uncertain following planning permission being granted earlier this year to transform the Rolls-Royce site into a housing development and business park.