updated 8/18/2008 3:25:42 PM ET 2008-08-18T19:25:42

Two small planes collided in midair and crashed in central England, killing five people, emergency workers said.

The planes slammed into each other Sunday near Coventry, about 90 miles northwest of London.

The crash involved a Cessna carrying four people, and a light aircraft, which only had the pilot onboard, police said. The debris from the collision stretched across several miles. No one on the ground was reported injured.

The light aircraft, described as a microlight, crashed into a field after the collision, while the Cessna came down in a nearby wooded area, authorities said.

The pilot and three passengers in the Cessna were working for Reconnaissance Ventures Ltd., which conducts aerial surveys, said Colin Dennis, the company's managing director.

Police initially said it was a Cessna 407, but the company said the plane was a Cessna 402.

"It had been taking an entirely routine flight and was on a perfectly normal approach to land at Coventry," Dennis said. "It was approximately two miles from the runway. We believe it had been cleared to land by Coventry Airport air traffic control when it was in collision with a smaller single engine light aircraft."

Dennis also said it was believed the light aircraft was also heading for the airport. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

A witness, Malcolm Collins, said he saw a twin-engine plane flying over the Combe Abbey Country Park, located about 5 miles east of Coventry.

Collins told British Broadcasting Corp. that there appeared to be no reason for the crash, which occurred just before noon, because skies were clear and visibility was good.

"We noticed it was flying low, and literally, within a split second, we saw a light aircraft come in from the right," Collins said. "The twin-engined aircraft struck the light aircraft and just totally destroyed it."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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