Plane lands on Western Cape highway after engine woes

2011-12-02 07:07

Good training, experience and a brief gap in the morning traffic on the R43 between Worcester and Villiersdorp saved the life of a pilot and his three passengers yesterday.

Die Burger newspaper reported today that the Cessna 210, piloted by 52-year-old Markku Torppa from Somerset West, suddenly developed engine problems while flying a circular route from the Stellenbosch airfield.

“I have 20 years experience as a pilot and had never previously experienced engine problems,” Torppa said.

Three passengers – a visitor from Perth, Australia, and two from Cape Town – were also on board.

“I had a choice. Either I would show them the winelands or Cape Point. Fortunately, the wind was too strong in the Cape. Having engine problems above the sea is not good.”

The plane was at an altitude of 600m when Torppa noticed the engine did not have power and saw smoke pouring out of it.

“I was not worried because pilots are actually trained to handle such situations. I just concentrated on landing.”

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