A video has emerged which captures the dramatic moment a light aircraft plunged into the sea during the Herne Bay Air Show in front of thousands of spectators. The single-seat Turbulent aircraft was forced into the water at around 3.30pm on Sunday (14 August).
In the footage, the pilot can be seen giving out a 'may day' signal as he desperately tries to warn spectators below that he is about to crash land on the water. As he ditches into the sea, the plane flips over.
Spectators rushed into the shallow water and lifted the plane back up before dragging the pilot to safety.
The show was put on hold as a rescue helicopter hovered overhead and the coast guard and ambulance arrived on the scene.
One witness told Kent Online: "It just went into the water from a fairly low height and then flipped over. Then the rescue helicopter arrived."
Another witness added: "It was flying quite low and I thought 'he looks like he's trying to land on the water'. Then the nose hit the surface of the sea and the plane flipped right over with the pilot upside down."
The pilot was relatively unharmed but some of the rescuers may have suffered minor injuries, according to reports. The incident occurred an hour after the Red Arrows had taken to the skies for an acrobatic air display.
Herne Bay Air Show is the biggest of its kind in Kent and draws huge crowds each year.