Plane lands on Western Cape road

2011-12-02 08:49

Cape Town - 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 on Thursday.

Die Burger
newspaper reported on Friday that the Cessna 210, piloted by Markku Torppa, 52, 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 2 000 feet - about 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."

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

  • JMan - 2011-12-02 08:56

    Some good news for a change..!

  • Deon - 2011-12-02 09:05

    Well done sir!!

  • bvniekerk - 2011-12-02 09:08

    Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Well done!

      Deon - 2011-12-02 09:28

      ... and if you can use the plane again, it's a great one!!

      mariuskowie - 2011-12-02 10:30

      The pilot is lucky the incident happened in the Western Cape. Anywhere else the emergency landing would have been substantially more dangerous because of the potholes.

      Alan - 2011-12-02 11:33

      @ Rebel: and if it was in Gauteng next year there would be tolls to pay as well

      Warmonger - 2011-12-02 12:41

      You two [above] crack me up!!! HA HA HAA, Brilliantly witty!!

  • francois.roux1 - 2011-12-02 09:27

    That Australian is going to have a hell of a story to tell when he goes back to OZ. Well done sir, for landing safely and saving lives!!!

      Dudleygbu - 2011-12-02 11:33

      and i doubt he will do that again

      Michael - 2011-12-17 16:43

      Actually there were two Australians and two from Cape Town. We are still here because of our pilot. Now back in Oz but will never forget Markku if it wasn't for him I don't think we would be here.

  • Mtizozo - 2011-12-02 09:28

    can he flies the heads of state now??

  • VictoriaRoseMiller - 2011-12-02 09:50

    Markku! Hanno and I are very impressed to hear you refrained from trying areobatics before landing - the smoke could have left such a nice trail!..... Really glad you are safe!! Now we need your autograph pls :)

      Myancmyfuture - 2011-12-02 09:55

      Sounds like you know him personally

  • Charmaine - 2011-12-02 10:08

    Thank God in the Highest. I just got back to Durban from the Western Cape. Good news is always welcome. Blessed be.

  • Janice - 2011-12-02 10:21

    Well done Mr. Pilot!!!!! You have saved lives, and that makes you a HERO...

  • Janice - 2011-12-02 10:23

    I would like to know who in his or her right mind gives thumbs down to any one of the above comments. SIS man, you should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!!!

  • Ditantane - 2011-12-02 10:24

    well done, we need more pilots like you sir

  • Cameronl - 2011-12-02 10:29

    outstanding, well done, glad you made it down alive as john said, "some good news for a change", and it is good to hear it for a change :)

  • Cookie - 2011-12-02 10:29

    Good news this.Well done to pilot !!

  • Andrew - 2011-12-02 10:32

    Give that man a Bells!

  • andriesl - 2011-12-02 10:32

    Great job! As long as you keep the amount of landings equal to the amount of take-off's.

  • jhavenga1 - 2011-12-02 10:43


  • janeyball - 2011-12-02 10:54

    Knap gedaan, Mr Pilot!

  • jason.fouche - 2011-12-02 11:01

    Job Well Done.. Any Landing you can walk away from is a good one!

  • Winsome - 2011-12-02 11:09

    A good pilot indeed! Well done.

  • michielbester - 2011-12-02 11:18

    So it doesn't just happen in the movie :) great landing Mr Torppa.

  • mninawa - 2011-12-02 11:31

    Im impress, Well done papa... i wanna be like you one day...

  • Msandi - 2011-12-02 11:33

    Well done to the pilot. Its now over to the civil aviation authority to determine why a plane with a faulty engine was in the air in the first place so this near miss doesn't happen again...

  • lepotatshepho - 2011-12-02 12:27

    any landing you can walk away from is a good lnding, bravo fellow aviator i am truly inspired!

  • robert.cerff - 2011-12-02 12:37

    Launchpad McQuack would be proud. Nice! :)

  • Anthony - 2011-12-02 13:26

    good on you old chap.

  • Bob - 2011-12-02 17:26

    The following posted by the pilot: Hi, I agree with Jim, that was my reaction as well, the smell - smoke sequence that followed the powerloss / Klonk was the deciding factor The plane was flyable, albeit with no more power produced, so I thought it's time to land. Picked the road, since it was looong and straight and no traffic in sight. It would have been perfect if it hadn't been for a bloody ONE single power line across the instead of pulling, which would be bad; I did what we have discussed while training for seaplane flying... if there is an unplanned power line ....push, go under. I did and she didn't stall, which is good. Unfortunately I did hit the road rather firm for a three pointer for the first time, bounced and then I managed a fine landing. The front wheel must have not liked the first contact because as I applied the breaks the front wheel caved in and the prop started to grind the R43 underneath. As we stopped, told all pax to leave NOW, shut the fuel, took the fire extinguisher with me and jumped out. Fortunately, no fire and all pax unhurt. Be ready, is all I can say. It can happen Cheers Markku

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