The pilot of an aircraft involved in a mid-air crash which killed five people in Warwickshire desperately tried to steer the plane to safety, an eyewitness said.
Father-of-two Malcolm Collins watched in horror as the Cessna 402 collided with a light aircraft in the skies above Coombe Abbey Country Park in Brinklow, Warwickshire.
Mr Collins said the pilot managed to gain control of the twin-engined Cessna before it eventually plunged into trees in nearby Brandon Wood.
He said: "The pilot did absolutely brilliantly to recover it.
"When it first happened it looked like the plane would go straight down but the pilot recovered it and seemed to be in control of it. Then it tipped and came down suddenly."
All four people on board the Cessna 402 - two men and two women - were employees of specialist survey company Reconnaissance Ventures Ltd (RVL) and were confirmed dead at the scene. The pilot of the light aircraft, believed to be a man, was also pronounced dead.
Mr Collins, from Daventry, Northamptonshire, was visiting the parkland surrounding Coombe Abbey, a Grade I listed luxury hotel, with his wife and two children when the crash happened.
"We were about to go into the park when above us was a plane flying fairly low but not dangerously low," he said. "Out of the corner of our eyes, within a second, there was another aircraft. I thought it was a microlight. It hit it.
"It (the microlight) completely disintegrated in a big bang. Small pieces started falling down to the ground.
"The twin engine (Cessna 407) was damaged to the right. It plunged and then recovered a small height and came round to our left. We thought it had managed to recover but it came down on our left hand side. Then we heard a large rumble."
Both aircraft came down towards the front of Coombe Abbey, one to the right and one in woods towards the left.
Mick Leach, group manager for Rugby fire station, also described the light aircraft as disintegrating upon impact. He said: "A search took place and we did locate two scenes of wreckage, one towards Coventry and one in Brandon Wood, approximately one mile apart.
"There are five confirmed fatalities - all persons have now been accounted for, one in a single engine aircraft which came down just towards the Coventry side of the hotel and there are four confirmed fatalities relating to the twin engine Cessna, which came down in Brandon Wood.
"As far as I am aware the single engine aircraft disintegrated pretty much in mid-air. Debris is spread over a wide area."
Colin Dennis, managing director of Coventry-based Reconnaissance Ventures Ltd, said: "It (the aircraft) had been taking an entirely routine flight and was on a perfectly normal approach to land at Coventry.
"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, which was also hoping to land at Coventry."
He said he would not be releasing the names of the employees until all relatives had been informed.
RVL carry out survey work for Government agencies and private firms. Mr Dennis said the four employees were carrying out routine work for a private firm when the crash happened just after 11.30am.
"It was a very, very routine piece of work and the plane was about to land in a normal routine fashion," he said.