AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a light aircraft crashed into a tree and landed in a field in Hoghton.

Police and paramedics were called out to the crash site in Chapel Lane.

Staff at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed they are investigating the incident which happened at 2.30pm yesterday.

The 74-year-old male pilot was treated at the scene for minor injuries. Nobody else was on board the microlight craft at the time of the crash.

The plane was still at the site this morning.

Resident Mike Graham, who spotted the plane while out walking yesterday at around 8am today, said he initially feared the worst.

Mr Graham said: “It’s not the kind of thing you expect to see when you’re out walking. It’s normally nice and quiet around here.

“I’m glad the pilot is okay. When I saw it I thought I was going to find a dead body but thankfully that wasn’t the case.”

An AAIB spokesperson said the authority had not sent anybody to the crash site but would be investigating by correspondence.

The spokesman said: “An incident involving a light aircraft at Chapel Lane, Hoghton, was reported to us on Tuesday and we are investigating.”

Each year, AAIB receives between 500 to 700 notifications of air accidents and incidents. It sends teams of inspectors to accident sites 30 to 40 times per year and conduct more than 200 investigations by correspondence each year. The correspondence investigations vary in the level of detail depending on the nature of the accident.

A report of an accident to a light aircraft, with no fatal or life threatening injuries to the pilot or passengers, may be completed following a brief questionnaire that the pilot returns.

On average, correspondence investigations are published around three months from the date of an incident.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “We were called at 2.27pm to Chapel Lane, Hoghton, to reports a glider had hit a tree. We have treated a 74-year-old male for minor injuries.”

A police spokesman said: “We were called by the ambulance service at 3.05pm yesterday to reports a microlight aircraft had collided with a tree in Chapel Lane, Hoghton.

“There was once person on board. They are only thought to have suffered minor injuries.”