A DOG walker believes she saw a plane “in trouble” shortly before an aircraft crashed in a field.

The pilot was killed when the light aircraft came down in the Herring Lane area near Heathfield on Tuesday morning.

Police and ambulance crews joined firefighters at the scene as they put out the blaze from the crash.

On Tuesday afternoon police confirmed the pilot had died at the scene.

It has not yet been confirmed where the plane had taken off from or where it was heading, but it is reported to have crashed at about 11am.

Kashka Mitchell was walking her dog near Devil’s Dyke when she heard a “roar” coming from the sky above her at about 10.55am.

She said: “I live near Rushfields Plant Centre and our garden is part of Parkwood.

“I was just taking my dog out for a walk and closing the gate to the woods. It was really quiet in there as it’s a private wood.

“The only way I can describe the sound is as if about five people turned chainsaws on at the same time.

“It was this massive roar which made both me and my dog jump.

“At first I thought it must have come from a someone working in the woods, but then almost immediately a plane appeared overhead.

“I saw it right above us and thought, that is so low in the sky, what’s going on?”

Kashka thinks the plane she saw is the same one which later crashed near Heathfield.

She said she knew immediately that “something was wrong” due to the position of the plane in the sky.

Kashka described it as “a light aircraft” and said: “I have a feeling it was white and red, in my flash memory.

“I was walking along and I thought, if it had come from Shoreham, all the planes are way up in the sky by the time they get here.

“We get military planes flying overhead here but it was not a military plane.

“At first I thought it had to have been taking off or nearing landing as it was just so low.”

Kashka believes the engine had failed in the plane she saw on her walk.

She added: “The engine sounded laboured and it was far too low to be over woods.

“I think the engine must have gone off and then they got it going again when it was over us.

“It was flying in the direction where the Heathfield plane crashed.”

A witness to the crash in Herring Lane said the plane had landed “a couple of fields away from a runway” at a small airfield.

The pilot who died in the crash has not yet been named.

Sussex Police said on Tuesday: “Emergency services were called to the scene off Herring Lane at 11.01am where the aircraft had caught fire after crashing. Unfortunately, the pilot is believed to have died instantly. His next-of-kin have been advised.”

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said: “The AAIB sent a team to investigate an accident involving a light aircraft which crashed on Tuesday near Heathfield, East Sussex. An investigation has begun.”