TWO men died after the light aircraft they were travelling in crashed and burst into flames in a field near Andover on Saturday.

Dr Shorland Hosking, a consultant at Poole hospital, was piloting the single engine ‘Banbi’ Landplane back to Bournemouth after a visit to Duxford in Cambridgeshire, when it came down at about 5.20pm.

The passenger was businessman Richard Wheeler, managing director of a Christchurch company.

The bodies of the two men, who were both in their 50s, were taken to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

A number of people who were driving along the A303 at the time of the incident have come forward to say that they saw a plane that appeared to be encountering problems, and a total of 20 firefighters were called to the scene off Red Post Lane, Monxton.

Eyewitness Mike Barry said he was returning home from the racing at Thruxton when he saw the plane spin three times before plummeting out of the sky.

At first he and his friend thought it was a remote controlled model aircraft but as soon as they saw the plume of smoke they realised it was real.

“We stopped our Land Rover on the road running alongside, ran into the field and towards the aircraft,” said Mike, 40, who lives in Honeysuckle Gardens, Andover, with his wife and son. As they approached the scene before the emergency services arrived they realised that one of the occupants of the aircraft was lying in the grass some distance from the crash.

Mike had his son with him and his friend’s young son was also with them but told them to turn back when they realised the full extent of the situation.

“I went towards the man on the ground to see if I could sort him out but he was gone,” said Mike, a former policeman in South Africa who moved to the UK several months ago and is now store cleaning manager at Asda.

“I think he was dead on impact – it was not the flames.”

It was not until he saw the news that he realised that there was a second person in the wreckage.

The Department for Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Branch is still investigating the incident with Hampshire police.

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen a small aircraft in difficulty at the time.

Contact Hampshire police on 101 or 0845 045 4545 from outside Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.