Painful exit for crash pilot
Pilot Murray Milne, who crash-landed his replica German fighter plane on farmland near Levin on Friday, was able to scramble clear of the wreckage despite breaking both his ankles.
Mr Milne, 56, who also suffered a fractured skull, was forced to land his newly acquired small-scale replica Focke-Wulf 190 after it lost power on only his second flight in the aircraft.
His wife Janeene said Mr Milne bought the locally built kitset plane last month and had done only one take-off and landing before flying it from Tauranga to Paraparaumu.
The single-engine plane lost power around Levin and he put out a mayday call. The Wellington man picked a spot to put the plane down, narrowly missing a water trough before coming to rest on a fence. He then called police on his cellphone to tell them where he was.
"He did a very good job and was able to get out of the plane and walk away,'' Mrs Milne said.
"It's very good to have him alive.''
She expected him to come out of hospital within the next few days but he was going to be incapacitated for some time, with one ankle in a splint and the other in plaster.
Mr Milne, who works as an engineer for Air New Zealand in Wellington, has been flying light aircraft since he was 16.