British Euro lawmaker 'luckiest man alive' after plane crash

8th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Outspoken British EU lawmaker Nigel Farage said Saturday he was "the luckiest man alive" following a horror air crash from which he walked away with minor injuries.

Farage, the figurehead of the anti-European Union United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), was taking part in a stunt on Thursday's general election day when the plane he was flying in plunged into the ground.

Farage left hospital on Saturday having been treated for broken ribs, bruised lungs and facial injuries.

He said he and the pilot knew they were going to crash five minutes before they nose-dived into a field, after the campaign banner they were towing got tangled in the tail.

"The question was just how big and bad it was going to be," Farage said. "I didn't panic. There wasn't anything I could do. I thought: 'I'll just sit here quietly and keep calm'.

"Going in for impact -- it is a pretty horrific feeling.

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

Farage suffered a chipped spine and damage to his sternum. The pilot Justin Adams sustained more serious but non-life threatening injuries.

"How do I feel? A bit smashed up, a little bit out of breath. 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," he said.

"Looking at the picture of me in the wreckage, note that I've still got my top button done up and my tie on.

"Normally, my style is always to say I'm off to a huge dinner, a big party and tripping the light fantastic but I'm afraid none of that is going to happen.

"I'm going to be better in three weeks' time. I'm going to go back to Brussels and annoy everybody."

Farage, 46, gained notoriety when he said the European Union's new president Herman Van Rompuy had the "charisma of a damp rag" and the appearance of a "low-grade bank clerk." His comments earned him an EU fine.

Farage was standing in the British general election against House of Commons speaker John Bercow but failed to oust him.

UKIP failed to win any seats but came fourth in the popular vote with 917,832 people backing their candidates (3.1 percent). It was their strongest ever general election showing.

The Daily Mail newspaper said their votes deprived the Conservatives of 10 seats. The Tories are 20 seats short of a majority.

© 2010 AFP

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