THE runway at Bournemouth Airport was closed yesterday afternoon after an accident involving a training plane.

The nose of the Duchess twin-engine light aircraft fell to the ground during take-off when the under carriage gave way and it skidded along the surface before coming to a stop.

Four fire crews were called to the scene but were not needed and the three people on board the Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training plane escaped uninjured.

The runway at Hurn had to be closed for 45 minutes while an airport crew inflated an air cushion to lift up the front of the plane before the aircraft, also known as a Beech 76, was towed away for repair.

John Earl, 67, from London, is a member of Bournemouth Aviation Group and was nearby when the accident happened.

He said: “Somebody told me the undercarriage had collapsed on one of the smaller planes and the runway was shut.

“As soon as I heard I came to have a look and they were putting the airbags underneath the plane.”

Julian Griffin, visiting the Bournemouth Flying Club cafe, said: “When I got here the fire engines had already arrived but there were no ambulances.

“I thought the under carriage had probably collapsed.”

A spokesperson for Bournemouth Airport said: “Following a twin-engine light aircraft sustaining a collapsed undercarriage prior to take-off, runway operations were temporarily suspended for around 45 minutes this afternoon so the aircraft could be removed from the runway area.

“The three people on board the aircraft at the time were not injured during the incident.

“No other flights were diverted or delayed during this period and the airport is now fully operational again.”

Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training, based at Aviation Park West, next to the airport, declined to comment.