A World War II plane has crashed on the mansion of a real estate billionaire – the pilot was seriously injured.
The Grumman General Motors Wildcat fighter plane crashed at Hevenignham Hall near Halesworth in Suffolk at around 5.10pm today.
The pilot was flown to the hospital with serious injuries.
The 5,000-acre estate is the stately home of property entrepreneur Jon Hunt, who founded Foxtons estate agents in London, and is valued at £1.448 billion.
It is believed the plane, which used to fly with the Royal Navy’s 733 Naval Air Squadron, was about to land on a small runway by the hangar when it overturned.
The Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service dispatched ten firefighters to the scene and cordoned off an area around the crash site that was visible from a nearby public road.
A fire extinguisher was also seen outside the main entrance to the 18th-century Heveningham Hall.
The male pilot was the only person aboard the Grumman Gpoleneral Motors Wildcat single-seat turboprop plane, which is believed to have reached a top speed of 518 miles per hour.
A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “Police, Ambulance and Suffolk Fire and Rescue are all on scene to investigate the incident.”
“The pilot, a man, was flown to the hospital with serious injuries. Nobody else was on board the plane.”
“At this time, it is understood that the pilot was attempting to land the aircraft at the time of the incident.
“An area of Heveningham Hall has been cordoned off while officers deal with the incident.
“The Air Accident Investigation Division (AAIB) has been informed and will investigate the incident.”
The Grade II Listed Heveningham Hall was bought by Mr Hunt in 1994 after being on the market for three years.
Mr. Hunt then landscaped the grounds of the lake property based on plans originally designed by Capability Brown.
He has since bought several country houses and farmhouses in the area, which he has converted into the Wilderness Reserve, an upscale vacation spot popular with celebrity guests.
The Grumman Wildcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that entered service in 1940 with the United States Navy and British Royal Navy, where it was originally known as the Martlet.
It was said to perform poorly against Japan’s Zero fighting in air battles over the Pacific and was later replaced by the faster and more powerful Hellcat.