A plane had to make a crash landing after it hit a hidden ridge in the runway and took off too early, an investigation has concluded.

The four-seater aircraft, carrying the pilot and one passenger, crashed at Andrewsfield, in Stebbing, on January 6.

Police, paramedics and firefighters all attended the scene, but neither the pilot nor his passenger were injured in the crash.

The 74-year-old pilot held a basic commercial pilot’s licence and had nearly 10,000 hours of flying experience.

A report into the crash by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the plane had to abort its take-off after it failed to pick up enough speed once it became airborne.

The report stated: “Two individuals, one a flying instructor, observed the behaviour of the aircraft after it left the ground and were sufficiently concerned that they both began running, from different locations, towards the airfield crash alarm whilst the aircraft was still airborne.”