THE owners of the wingwalking plane that crashed in Poole Harbour said the aircraft suffered "technical difficulties" during a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival.

AeroSuperBatics has commented on the incident for the first time since the biplane completed a "successful ditching" near Sandbanks on Saturday, September 4.

The company, which is based Rendcomb Airfield in Cirencester, thanked the emergency services and members of the public who rescued pilot David Barrell and wingwalker Kirsten Pobjoy from the plane.

The aviation business said it would be carrying out its own "thorough investigation" alongside working with both the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

Bournemouth Echo: A plane is transported towards Poole harbour after being lifted from the sea in the Sandbanks area of Poole Harbour after it crashed into the sea on Saturday afternoon during the Bournemouth Air Festival. Picture date: Sunday September 5, 2021..

A statement on the AeroSuperBatics website said: "On Saturday, September 4, one of our aircraft suffered technical difficulties during an air display at Bournemouth Air Festival.

"Unfortunately, the aircraft was unable to maintain altitude and despite very difficult circumstances, a successful ditching was carried out into Poole Harbour.

"Both pilot (David Barrell) and wingwalker (Kirsten Pobjoy) sustained minor injuries, received medical treatment in Poole Hospital and were released shortly thereafter."

Bournemouth Echo: Picture: John ThackerPicture: John Thacker

The statement added: "We are conducting our own thorough investigation and currently liaising with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

"We would like to extend our thanks to the RNLI, Coastguard, South-West Ambulance, Dorset Police, Poole Harbour Commissioners and all those who took part in the rescue of the two crew members aboard the aircraft.

"We are also grateful to have received many dozens of messages from well-wishers and are placing the well-being of all of our staff as our top priority."

As reported, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed an investigation had been launched.

It would take the form of a "correspondence investigation" and the report would be published in the next few months, the authority said.