Mustang pilot Maurice Hammond, who was seriously injured in Hardwick crash, undergoes surgery
A pilot who was seriously injured when his plane crashed near Bungay has undergone surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Engineer Maurice Hammond, who owns a fleet of vintage planes known as the Hardwick Warbirds, had been flying one of his two Mustang planes on Sunday afternoon when the crash happened close to the former RAF Hardwick airfield.
The passenger in the plane, a man in his 80s, died at the scene.
Mr Hammond, a 58-year-old father of two and grandfather of three from near Eye in Suffolk, is currently being treated at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Nik Coleman, a family friend of the Hammonds, and acting spokesman for them, said this evening: 'Maurice is now in aftercare having undergone a surgical procedure today to strengthen and protect his spinal cord, neck upwards. This was a planned procedure by the staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as part of the overall recovery programme for him. 'We are informed by medical staff that the surgery, whilst complex, is a normal procedure in collision cases where the patient was wearing a helmet and has suffered neck tissue and ligament trauma.
'It is important to note his spinal cord is wholly unaffected. His CT scans give no reason for concern.'
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He said members of Mr Hammond's family were encouraged by the fact that his medical team considered him strong enough to undergo surgery and that they remained 'strong and optimistic.'
'Sedation was reduced at one point yesterday for assessment purposes and Maurice reacted positively, opened his eyes and demonstrated reflex reactions,' he said.
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Mr Coleman said the family and the Hardwick team continued to express their condolences to all affected by the incident.
As previously reported, members of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have this week been investigating the incident and the remains of the Mustang plane have been moved to the AAIB's hangar at Farnborough, Hampshire.