Lucky escape for pilot in plane crash

2010-08-23 00:00

THE co-pilot of a light aircraft was fortunate not to be seriously injured after the plane he was in crashed at Treverton College at Mooi River yesterday.

Sarah Barrett, spokesperson for Nsele Emergency Services, said that the man was taken to St Anne’s Hospital as a precaution.

Barrett said the two-seater aircraft appears to have crashed after the wind direction shifted suddenly. The pilot was unharmed.

“Because of the force with which aeroplanes hit the ground, leading to whiplash and other injuries, the man was taken to hospital for monitoring as a precaution.”

Barrett said the Mooi River fire department was called to the scene to deal with any emergency arising from any aircraft fuel that may have leaked out. She said the plane crashed in the school’s wildlife area.

Barrett said the right wing of the plane was crumpled and that the undercarriage and wheels had suffered damage.

Noel Coetzee, CEO at Treverton College, said he was relieved the school was deserted because of the mid-term break when the crash occurred.

He added that it appeared that the pilot tried to do a touch and go landing on the airstrip at the school, but that there were animals on the strip at the time and the pilot aborted the attempt.

“They are from a flight school in Johannesburg and were on a training flight. They saw the animals and pulled up again at the end of the airstrip, but hit into a thatched gazebo.”

Coetzee said the pilots had not followed protocol in terms of getting permission from him to use the airstrip. “When we get enquiries about using the airstrip, we refer pilots to a local pilot who will tell them the specifics of the airstrip.”

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed the crash and said that the pilot was flying very low at around two to three metres.

Zwane said the Civil Aviation Authority will perform an investigation into the crash.

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