AN AIRCRAFT has crashed at Southend Airport.

The pilot of a Cessna 152 is being treated at Southend Hospital after the aircraft bounced off the runway at about 11.45am today.

An eye witness has described the nose wheel of the light aircraft breaking on landing.

Paramedics have taken the pilot to Southend Hospital.

The runway was blocked for about 30 minutes.

Specialist firefighters from as far away as Orsett rushed to help the airport’s own onsite fire team.

Assistant Divisional Officer Martyn Hodder, Southend Station Commander, said: "The Cessna plane had a heavy landing and bounced onto the runway before landing on the grass. The pilot evacuated once the plane hit the ground and walked away from the crash. There was no fire.

"Fire service crews assisted in checking the area was safe and the incident was dealt with swiftly and professionally by the airport's own fire team."

An ambulance service spokeswoman said: “We were called at 11.45am to an incident at Southend Airport.

“A light aircraft crashed with one person on board.

“Fortunately the patient was able to walk away and is believed to have minor injuries.

“An ambulance and a rapid response vehicle attended and the man is being taken to Southend Hospital via ambulance.”

An airport spokeswoman said: “There has been an incident involving a light aircraft at London Southend Airport this morning.

“It happened when the Cessna 152 was attempting to land at around 11.44am. “One person was on board.

“The incident was attended by the airport's fire team supported by the pre-planned response from the police, fire and rescue service and the ambulance service.

“The person was placed in the care of the ambulance service and taken to hospital.

“The runway re-opened 12.26 and the airport is operating normally.”

Crews had made the crash site safe by 12.05pm.