Nottinghamshire M1 plane crash: Tributes paid to victims

Aircraft in a Nottinghamshire field An eyewitness said the aircraft dived straight down into the field

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Tributes have been paid to two men who died when the plane they were flying crashed near the M1 on Saturday.

John Gill, 70, from Belper, Derbyshire, and Alan Eaves, 76, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, died at the scene when the light aircraft plunged into a field in Nottinghamshire.

Derby Cathedral said Mr Gill was a "loyal and well-respected" member of its choir.

A Selston councillor said Mr Eaves was a "tenacious" local campaigner.

"Alan was a very experienced pilot so it was terrible news and not only am I shocked but everybody who knows him is too. Our hearts go out to Pat his wife for this terrible loss," Gail Turner said.

In 2010, a plan to bury millions of cubic metres of waste and rubble at Bentinck Void - a former opencast mine - was turned down by Ashfield District Council.

"It was his tenacity that pulled us through a very big issue which was the prospect of having one of the biggest landfill sites in Europe coming to the edge of our village," she added.

'Greatly missed'

Mr Gill sang bass with the Derby Cathedral Voluntary Choir for several years.

"He will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Alma and all his family and friends," a cathedral spokesman said.

Hucknall Aerodrome, from where the flight took off, has remained closed since the accident.

A statement on the Merlin Flying Club's website said the club was "deeply saddened" by the deaths of two of its members and is co-operating fully with the ongoing Air Accident Investigation Branch inquiry into the crash.

Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to be deliberately aimed away from the motorway.

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