An air show near London was closed early after two crashes in as many days killed three people.

The crashes, both of vintage aircraft, forced organizers to halt the Biggin Hill Air Fair on Sunday, hours before it was scheduled to be over.

On Sunday afternoon, a Second World War single seat American King Cobra spiralled out of control and crashed into trees in a ball of fire, said witnesses.

On Saturday evening, a 1950s De Havilland Vampire crashed. The plane, with two men aboard, corkscrewed to the ground about 100 metres from a row of houses.

A spokesman for the air show said both planes "just fell out of the sky."

The fair was being held at a former Second World War fighter base south of London.