WESTON HILLS JET CRASH ANNIVERSARY: 'Is all that smoke something to do with you'
The first man to speak to the pilot of the Weston Hills jet crash five years ago asked him: “Is all that smoke something to do with you?”
Brian Jex had spotted Major Matt Tanis parachuting down and shouted to colleagues Martyn Horton and Simon Bezkorowajnyj, who work with him at the engineering business his father Dennis founded in Austendyke Road.
Mr Jex (56) said: “We watched him come down in the field and he just laid there for a little while. We decided to go over and I shouted to him ‘are we safe to approach?’ because you just don’t know.
“I think he was trying to get a GPS signal to contact his base so I asked if he wanted to borrow my phone. Then he stood up and said ‘have I got any injuries? Is there any blood on me?’
“We were a fair distance from the plane. I said ‘is all that smoke something to do with you?’ He said ‘yeah, that’s my plane’.”
Mr Jex, who’s lived in the village all his life, said: “Obviously, I knew where the school is and I knew the plane was further over so that was a massive relief.
“We walked him back across the field and he was still talking on the phone. Then all hell broke loose - within a matter of three or four minutes there were lots of police and an air ambulance. Soon a military helicopter arrived and the pilot was escorted off.”
Mr Jex remembers that Maj Tanis said very little to him but wasn’t offended, putting it down to either shock or his military training.