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Our parents would be dead now if they had been at home’

PUBLISHED: 12:44 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:36 25 August 2010

SHOCK:  Peter and Steven Hale believe their parents would not have survived the crash if they hadn’t been awa.

SHOCK: Peter and Steven Hale believe their parents would not have survived the crash if they hadn’t been awa.

THE couple whose house was destroyed when a plane crashed into it would have stood no chance of surviving if they had been inside, according to their shocked sons.

THE couple whose house was destroyed when a plane crashed into it would have stood "no chance of surviving" if they had been inside, according to their shocked sons.

Distressed banker Steven Hale, 45, son to Pat Harman and stepson to her husband Ed, visited the half demolished home in Romsey Close, Farnborough, on Monday afternoon with his brother Peter, 42.

Police said it was a "miracle" that Ed and Pat Harman were on separate holidays last Sunday when a plane carrying five people crashed into their house, killing all on board.

Mrs Harman, 68, a retired medical secretary, is now seeking refuge at a friend's house in Sidcup.

Peter Hale, also a banker, said: "There would have been no chance of them surviving had they been in the property, and on a normal Sunday afternoon, had it been an hour earlier, my mother her brother and partner would have been inside the house.

"It was a fantastic house, it's really neighbourly round here. They were settled and enjoying retirement but now it's all gone. It's very distressing but they will rebuild their lives and their belongings again.

"To us it's bricks and mortar. We didn't know it was going on until we saw it on the TV. We're thankful they're alive, they're thankful they're alive.

"There are a lifetime possessions in there and none of us would like to lose those, but my mother's first thoughts were with the victims and to the deceased that were on the plane."

Mrs Harman was on holiday with her daughter in Madeira while Mr Harman, 72, was on a golfing holiday in the Algarve. He returned to England on Tuesday but the couple have still not seen the ruins of their home, where they've lived since 1990.

Police said they would need to look at the structure of the house with the Local Authority and the insurance company to determine whether or not to demolish it.

Steven Hale said: "There is not much left of the house at the top at all, especially on the side where the plane crashed in to it.

"My parents are bearing up. My mother is not very well but she is in as good spirits as you can expect if your house has been destroyed." A statement by the two sons also praised the emergency services in the aftermath of the crash and said their parents were "enamoured by the local community spirit demonstrated by friends and neighbours".

The bodies of the crash victims were recovered by emergency workers on Monday and taken to Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough.

Families of the victims - pilots Mike Roberts and Mike Chapman and passengers including British touring car champion David Leslie, Apex Jaguar racing team's Richard Lloyd and Christopher Allarton - visited the scene on Tuesday to pay their respects.

Borough Commander Charles Griggs said: "Our sympathy is with the friends and family of those who died. Friends and family of the deceased are owed a full and thorough investigation which will take a few days."

Air investigation teams were continuing their search for clues to establish what caused the accident.

Emergency workers say that no black box flight recorders were on the craft as they are not required for private jets.

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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