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"Absolute gentleman" helicopter pilot and student, 18, with nine weeks training flying light aircraft among four killed in horror mid-air collision

Mirror logo Mirror 18/11/2017 Sophie Evans
a man looking at the camera: Credits: UKNIP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: UKNIP

An "absolute gentleman" helicopter pilot and a teenage student were among four people killed yesterday when the chopper and a plane collided in mid-air.

Captain Mike Green was among the four people killed in yesterday's horror crash © Mirror Captain Mike Green was among the four people killed in yesterday's horror crash Captain Mike Green died alongside a passenger when his helicopter collided with the light aircraft over the historic estate Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire.

Two other people, in the plane, were killed in the crash at 1,000 feet.

One of the pair has been named locally as student Saavan Mundae, 18, who had been flying for only nine weeks and is thought to have been on a training flight.

His instructor also reportedly lost his life in the collision.

Video: Four Dead After Plane and Helicopter Collide Over Buckinghamshire (Storyful)

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Saavan, who attended nearby Buckinghamshire New University, was studying Air Transport with Commercal Pilot Training and learning to fly.

a person sitting on a bed: Credits: UKNIP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: UKNIP It is thought he lived with his parents in a £1.2million home.

Earlier today, a long-time pal confirmed Mike was the helicopter pilot who died in the tragedy, as tributes to him started to emerge on social media.

"Such a waste," said the friend, who shared a cup of tea with the "well-respected" pilot just a day before he and the three other victims were killed.

He told Mirror Online that Mike was one of Britain's top instructors, who was completely dedicated to his job and taught students as young as 17.

a close up of a dry grass field © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Both aircraft had departed from Wycombe Air Park, some 16 miles away, before yesterday's collision. They are thought to have flown separately until the smash.

The identities of the helicopter passenger and plane instructor who died are currently unknown. None of the victims involved in the crash has yet been officially named.

a sunset over a grass field: Credits: @misshoknews © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: @misshoknews Mike's friend and former colleague told Mirror Online he had known the pilot for 30 years, dating back to when they both served in the Army together.

He recalled: "I shared a cup of tea with him on Thursday morning. He was a true gentleman. He was probably the most well-respected instructor in the country.

"He achieved a very high position within the Army as an instructor.

an aerial view of a swimming pool © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited "He's an absolutely dedicated instructor. If you wanted a training instructor there's no one more highly qualified.

"Almost everybody in the country has been instructed by him. Most instructors have been trained by him."

He added that he and Mike had a general, 'How's it going'" chat during their shared cup of tea, which took place just a day before the tragedy.

His comments came as Mike's nephew paid tribute to him on Facebook, sharing an article on the collision along with the words: "RIP uncle Micheal."

Other family and friends also expressed their own sadness on the site.

It is believed that the aircraft were flying in uncontrolled airspace when the collision occurred, which means they were navigating by eye.

a close up of a map: Credits: Google © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Google This is understood to be a fairly typical approach for light aircraft in the UK.

Mike's friend said the incident happened in an area where there is a lot of air traffic.

The helicopter company that the pilot worked for is also regarded as one of the best in the country.

The chopper involved is thought to be a Guimbal Cabri - a relatively new helicopter - while the light aircraft was reportedly a two-seater Cessna 152.

Footage from the scene shows debris and twisted metal strewn across the ground on what is believed to be a location near Waddesdon Manor, managed by the Rothschild Foundation.

Waddesdon Manor said in a statement today: "Lord Rothschild and his family extend their condolences to the families of all affected, and their thanks to the emergency services for their swift response and professionalism."

a man riding a skateboard up the side of a road: Credits: @misshoknews © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: @misshoknews Thames Valley Police Superintendent Rebecca Mears confirmed yesterday evening that four people had died.

The incident unfolded shortly after midday when local residents heard "a loud bang" when it is thought to the aircraft collided at around 1,000ft.

At least 35 firefighters rushed to the scene alongside police - with ambulance crews initially reporting "a number of casualties".

A plume of smoke could also be seen rising above the trees in the distance in a photograph taken by a local newspaper reporter stood in a nearby field.

Local Waddesdon residents are understood to have dashed to the scene to try to help those involved in the rescue operation.

One told MailOnline: 'My father heard a loud bang. He ran up to the scene. It was clear pretty quickly that no one has survived.'

Wycombe Air Park, also known as Booker Airfield, offers flight training for both pleasure and commercial purposes.

They look after more than 200 aircraft for club members and other airfield users including gliders, rotary wing aircraft and vintage aircraft such as Tiger Moths.

Their statement to Mirror Online confirmed: "Wycombe Air Park can confirm that at 12.00pm we were informed of an incident north west of Aylesbury involving two aircraft from Wycombe Air Park.

"Emergency services are at the scene and the Air Accident Investigation Branch have been informed and have dispatched a field investigation team."

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch tweeted shortly after 1.30pm that it was "sending a team to investigate a mid-air collision involving an aircraft and a helicopter near Aylesbury".

a car parked on the side of a road: Credits: @misshoknews © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: @misshoknews A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch told Mirror Online yesterday: "We have a team on the way there.

"It is believed to involve a helicopter and a small aircraft."

Thames Valley Police and Bucks Fire confirmed they were at the scene, with up to seven appliances including three search emergency vehicles spotted at the site.

In a statement yesterday, police said: "The force is coordinating the response to the incident which was reported at 12.06pm today (17/11).

"The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has been informed and staff are en route to the scene.

"Fire and ambulance services are also in attendance and preservation of life is first priority.

"In consequence of this incident it is expected that there will be some disruption to the road network around Waddesdon for the rest of the day."

The fire brigade tweeted: "Firefighters currently assisting other emergency services at scene of air accident near Waddesdon.

"Air Accidents Investigation Branch informed.

"Disruption to road network around Waddesdon likely for the rest of the day."

A South Central Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We were called to a mid-air collision involving a helicopter and an aircraft.

"We have sent a number of vehicles to the scene, including the Thames Valley air ambulance, two ambulance crews, two ambulance officers and a rapid response vehicle.

"There have been reports of a number of casualties at the scene."

Waddesdon Manor featured in The Crown and The Queen, starring Helen Mirren.

Nearby RAF Halton confirmed no military aircraft had been involved in the incident.

A spokesman said yesterday: "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."

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