Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Saturday, 8 May 2010 15:17 UK

UKIP's Farage 'luckiest man alive' after plane crash

Nigel Farage being rescued from the plane wreckage
Mr Farage suffered minor injuries in the plane crash

The former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader said he was "the luckiest man alive" after surviving a light aircraft crash during his election campaign.

Nigel Farage, 46, was discharged from hospital two days after the plane he was in crashed in Northamptonshire.

He said he feared he would burn to death in the wreckage and said he and the pilot had known for five minutes before impact they were going to crash.

Mr Farage was treated in hospital for broken ribs and bruised lungs.

He said he believed the UKIP banner the plane was towing was to blame for the crash at Hinton-in-the-Hedges.

He said: "The banner hooked around the tail of the plane which meant that whenever he came in to land, it would be a nose-dive landing.

I'm not quite sure who's looking after me at the moment, but they're doing a frightfully good job
Nigel Farage

"So we spent five minutes knowing we were in for a crash landing and the question was just how big and bad it was going to be."

Mr Farage said he thought about "life and the world" as he waited to crash, adding: "There wasn't anything I could do. I thought: 'I'll just sit here quietly and keep calm'."

He said the worst part of the accident was being stuck in the plane.

"We were trapped inside it and there was petrol everywhere," he said. "I thought 'God, we've survived the impact and now we're going to burn to death'.

Two days on, he said he still felt "a bit smashed up", adding: "But when you look at the pictures, and think about the accident I've been through, I think I must be the luckiest man alive.

"I'm not quite sure who's looking after me at the moment, but they're doing a frightfully good job."

Pilot treated

Mr Farage was treated at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford after being transferred from Horton General Hospital, Banbury. The pilot, Justin Adams, also needed hospital treatment.

Mr Farage stood against Commons speaker John Bercow in the general election, but the Buckingham seat was held by Mr Bercow, with Mr Farage coming in third place.

Mr Bercow has been the MP for the area since 1997 and polled 22,860 votes, a majority of more than 12,000.

Independent candidate John Stevens, standing under the title of Buckingham Campaign for Democracy, was second with 10,331 votes and Mr Farage polled 8,401 votes.

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