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Outspoken British election candidate survives plane crash

world Updated: May 06, 2010 16:55 IST

AFP
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A high-profile candidate in the British general election, Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party, walked away from a plane crash with minor injuries on Thursday soon after voting started, his party said.

Farage, an outspoken Member of the European Parliament, was in a light aircraft which crash-landed at an airfield in Northamptonshire, north of London, just after 0700 GMT as he toured the constituency of Buckingham.

Unconfirmed reports suggested a party banner being towed by the plane reading "Vote for your country -- Vote UKIP" may have become tangled up in the aircraft.

"He walked out of the crash bloodied. He has been taken to hospital in Banbury," a party spokesman told AFP, adding that air accident investigators were trying to establish what caused the crash.

Farage is trying to oust the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, in Buckingham, and become UKIP's first member of parliament (MP).

"We will continue as before but the campaign in Buckingham has had a bit of a hiatus," the spokesman said.

The condition of the pilot "is a bit more serious. He was cut out of the craft" before being taken to hospital, he said, adding that the party was "very concerned" about him.

Television pictures showed the plane upside down and the cockpit almost obliterated.

A police spokesman said: "Two people were on board, the pilot and the passenger, both had minor injuries."

Farage, 46, gained notoriety when he said the European Union's new president Herman Van Rompuy had the "charisma of a damp rag" and the appearance of a "low-grade bank clerk."

He was fined almost 3,000 euros (3,850 dollars) for the comments he made in February during Van Rompuy's first appearance before the European Parliament.

UKIP opposes Britain's membership of the EU and wants stronger controls on immigration.