Footage from a shocked bystander shows the moment two men swam to safety after their plane crashed into the sea.
The incident is reported to have happened in the sea by the Widewater beach huts in Lancing.
Emergency services were alerted at 3.50pm on Thursday, March 30, and swiftly arrived at the scene.
Donna Milton, 55, from West Way, Lancing, captured the footage.
She said she was ‘a bit shaken’ by the incident, but added it could have been a lot worse.
“I saw it come down; it was nose down in the water and was fairly big compared to the little ones you normally see.
“I was looking for the passenger and the pilot. They both got out. It looked to me like they were trying to lift [the plane] up and try to drag it out.
“It wasn’t that far out, then they gave up and swam out of the water.
“We all watched the plane slowly sinking nose first.”
Donna said she spoke to them and asked if they were okay. She said the pilot was a young man.
“I told him he had done really well to get it where he did. It could’ve been a lot worse.
“He told me the engine cut out, he had just taken off but the engine cut out and he had to bring it back down.”
At this point, paramedics took them to an ambulance.
According to Donna, who moved to Lancing from London at the weekend, the emergency services arrived in five minutes and the coastguard helicopter was here within less than ten minutes.
Sussex Police said two people escaped from the aircraft, understood to be a Piper.
They swam ashore after the plane came down quite close to the beach and are thought to be uninjured at this time.
Eyewitness Patricia Hand was painting her beach hut when the plane came down ‘in front of her eyes’.
She said: “My son has a plane, so I just hoped it wasn’t him”.
According to her, she saw the two people escape from the plane and helped them ashore, and offered them a cigarette.
She then watched the plane sink under the waves.
According to eyewitnesses, the plane will be pulled out of the water at around 8pm this evening.
Two people have escaped from a plane which crashed into the sea off the Sussex coast.
They were able to reach the shore after the light aircraft came down “close to the beach” in Shoreham, West Sussex.
The plane, which is believed to be a Cessna, crashed at about 15:50 BST, Sussex Police said.
Both people who escaped from the wreckage are not believed to have been injured in the crash, a force spokesman added.
Shoreham RNLI said it had had launched its all weather lifeboat.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said it received multiple 999 calls reporting that the plane had ditched in the water.
South East Coast Ambulance Service said the two people had been assessed, and neither required hospital treatment.
Jim Barrow, from Worthing said: “One guy, who I assume was the pilot, was soaked to the skin but he was standing up and talking on the phone so he looked OK.
“We’re used to seeing planes fly over but not like that.”
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March 12, 2012
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This is happening more frequently and there should be an investigation
I now of the problems and figuring out what the problem is, the hostin
I don't know if it's just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering
Paul Blankenship · Top Commenter · School of Hard Knocks Mr. Shelton