Witness says US military jet F/A18 crash sent ‘shockwave’ through his workshop, shaking the entire building

David Arnold was going about his normal working Wednesday morning when he heard an 'almighty thud' g

David Arnold was going about his normal working Wednesday morning when he heard an 'almighty thud' go through his workshop. - Credit: Archant

David Arnold was going about his normal working Wednesday morning when he heard an “almighty thud” bellow through his workshop.

“There was a shockwave which shook the entire building,” he said of this morning’s plane crash close to the Suffolk/Ely border which has left a US Navy pilot dead.

“It was more of a thud than an explosion. There are bits everywhere,” he added.

“There are parts of the plane strewn about a quarter or half a mile up the road.”

Mr Arnold, of Littleport, said that one of his customers was driving up the road at the time of the crash.


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“It shook his car – a Toyota Landscaper,” he said. “He saw black smoke plume 200 feet up and a lot of flames.”

Mr Arnold, who works at A&C Auto Refinishes, added that he saw a helicopter arrive at the site.

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“A helicopter flew over and it landed near to the crash site. I saw three people get out, they were running around – I guess to look for the pilot – but then they got back in the helicopter and flew around 300 feet further and re-landed.”

He said that he thinks the wreckage could be made up of numerous hydraulic pipes.

“Because it was misty, you could smell it like it was a bonfire. I would imagine the fuel load was quite down.”

He added: “It’s not something you see everyday.”

A member of the public called Cambridgeshire Constabulary at 10.30am, to reports of a plane crash on farmland in Redmere, Shippea Hill.

The plane, an F/A-18 from VFMA 232 Red Devils based at Mirimar CF and belonging to the US Marine Corps, had taken off from RAF Lakenheath.

It is believed that the pilot died despite ejecting from the aircraft.

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