A MAN has died following a plane crash near Blandford.

TWO men were fighting for their lives in hospital yesterday after their plane crashed in a field and the police have confirmed one of them has died in hospital overnight.

The police did not confirm if it was the pilot or the passenger who died.

The pair had been flying in a silver de Havilland Tiger Moth, a 1930s biplane, when the aircraft came down in an isolated spot near Blandford yesterday.

Eyewitnesses said the plane plummeted nose first onto land near the village of Moor Crichel just after 3pm.

The Portland Coastguard helicopter was scrambled to airlift one of the men to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester. Both men suffered serious injuries and were said to be fighting for their lives in intensive care units last night.

Andrew Marlborough, the security manager for the Crichel Estate, who lives near the crash scene, was among the first on the scene, and spoke to the two men while they were trapped in the wreckage.

He said: “I told them to keep calm and said the emergency services were on their way. By the time I said that, they were here. One of the men was conscious. He was dazed and covered in blood.

“The other man was unconscious. They had nasty head injuries, and other injuries.”

Dorset Police said the pilot, who is believed to be from Poole, was taken to Salisbury Hospital by the Dorset Police helicopter. The passenger, a 26-year-old man also from Poole, was taken to DCH by the coastguard helicopter.

The scene was sealed off to preserve the area and the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) has been called in to investigate the crash with the assistance of Dorset Police.

Mr Marlborough said the Tiger Moth was a regular sight over Moor Crichel on a flight path to nearby Compton Abbas airfield, adding that he had seen the plane before he received news of the crash. He said he thought the plane had gone “straight in” to the field, landing nose first, adding that while the impact had created a large dent in the field, the surrounding areas were undamaged.

About 30 firefighters from stations across the district, including specialist teams, raced to the scene.

Inspector Michael Darby from Dorset Police said eyewitnesses had reported seeing the aircraft in difficulty before it came down.

He described the Tiger Moth as a local aircraft but said it had not been established whether it was flying to or from Compton Abbas airfield, which is between Blandford and Shaftesbury.

Staff at the airfield were directing all inquiries via the police yesterday afternoon.

The airfield runs a range of trial flying experiences and voucher experiences, including a flight in a Tiger Moth.

It is a 1930s biplane with an open cockpit, which remained in service with the RAF until around 1952, although is used nowadays primarily for recreational use.