Plane crash at Cairneyhill



Hundreds of people in Dunfermline area yesterday saw a naval pilot make a parachute escape from his plane before it dived earthwards and burst into flames in a field.

Before the pilot landed, farm hands were running to his help. He was taken to Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital suffering from leg and face injuries.

The plane, a Seafire from the Royal Naval Air Station at Donibristle, was piloted by Lieut. J D Sawyer. Some of the crash was near Pitconnachie Farm, between Crossford and Cairneyhill, a few miles to the west of Dunfermline.

An eye-witness said ‘The plane was travelling westwards at about 3000 feet. The engine started to make a terrific noise, then stopped, and just when I thought the plane was all right again I saw something drop. A yellow parachute opened and I could see the pilot hanging below.’

While the plane engine buried itself nine feet in one field the pilot floated to earth in another a hundred yards away.

Lieut. Sawyer received first-aid on the spot from Miss Weir, sister of Mrs McVicar, The Manse, Cairneyhill, who is a nurse. She was assisted by members of the NFS under company officer Pervil. Using a short ladder as a stretcher, the firemen, assisted by the police and farm hands, carried the injured man about half a mile to the nearest roadway. There an army truck was waiting to take him to hospital.

Last night the wreckage of the plane, strewn over a wide area, was still smouldering.

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