A top-dressing pilot and his passenger are in intensive care with broken arms and legs after their plane clipped a fence as it came in to land.
Pilot Robin Langslow, 60, has had surgery for multiple fractures and was in a serious condition in Hawke's Bay Hospital last night.
His passenger, a top-dressing loader driver, also aged 60, was in a critical condition.
The pair were coming in to land about 6am yesterday on Mr Langslow's top-dressing airstrip near State Highway 2 in Otane.
A neighbour called emergency services on seeing the wreck and was relieved to find the men were conscious.
"[The landing] sounded quite normal until I heard this thump and I thought, that's not right."
Mr Langslow's wife, Alison, said her husband went into surgery yesterday afternoon. She declined to comment further.
It is the second time Mr Langslow had been involved in a serious accident.
He was convicted of careless driving causing death after Brian Bowden died in a two-car collision near Hastings in July 2012. Mr Langslow was ordered to pay $5000 to Mr Bowden's family for emotional harm.
Bruce Peterson, managing director of Aerospread, which employs the two men, said it was working with the Civil Aviation Authority to find out what happened.
He said the families of the men had asked for privacy, and together they thanked the emergency services crews and hospital staff who had cared for the men.
CAA spokesman Mike Richards said it would be investigating, but the incident would not be handed over to the Transport Accident Investigation Commission.
- The Dominion Post
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