Three people are feared dead as the result of an aviation disaster in the skies over Buckinghamshire in England. After a mid-air collision, a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft fell to earth and landed close to the grounds of Waddesdon Manor, near the town of Aylesbury in central England. Wreckage of the two aircraft could be seen lying in dense woodlands.
Residents of the area described hearing a loud bang, followed the sight of smoke rising over the trees at Upper Winchendon. England's South Central Ambulance Service announced that there were a number of casualties, including severa fatalities. The crash is believed to have occurred just after 12 noon local time.
Heli Air -- a UK-based company that sells and services helicopters and provides flying lessongs - is the owner of the helicopter involved in the collision. Local reports say that two persons were on board the rotary aircraft. In the case of the airplane, only the pilot was on board at the time. Both the plane and the helicopter had taken off from Wycombe Air Park - an airfield near High Wycombe that offers flight training. The air park -- which is also known as Booker Airfield -- lies about 20 miles from the scene of the wreckage.
Officials from Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) were sent to the area. Police and fire brigades were sent to the scene of the wreckage. Urban search emergency teams were sent to the scene along with six fire officers to participate in the search. A drone was sent aloft to look for any survivors.
Staff from Waddesdon Estate - which is managed by the Rothschild Foundation on behalf of the National Trust - directed first responders to the scene whilst police set up a cordon. It lies just one mile from the scene of the accident.
According to a parent's statement on Twitter, the plane came down just 500 yards from a children's care center.
Officials at the Royal Air Force base at Halton, which is about 10 miles away, confirmed that no military aircraft were involved. A spokesman said: "We can confirm that neither of the aircraft concerned has a connection with either our air force nor the military, and this is as much as we know at this time."
Still at the cordon after today's mid-air collision close to Waddesdon Hill pic.twitter.com/sA5yUjALTb— Hayley O'Keeffe (@misshoknews) November 17, 2017
The Rothschilds, the famous banking family, purchased Waddesdon, in 1874. It is now owned by Britain's National Trust and managed by the Rothschild Foundation, chaired by Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild. The former family seat rests on 6,000 acres of farm and woodland and is one of the National Trust's most visited properties, with more than 390,000 visitors every year. It is popular with wedding parties. Several films have been shot at the estate, including the Carry On series, and the movie The Queen, starring Helen Mirren.