Light plane crashes near Feilding

CHRIS HYDE AND KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 20:10 09/04/2014
Plane crash near Taonui Airfield, Manawatu
WARWICK SMITH/ Fairfax NZ

CRASH SITE: Two people were in the plane when it hit a digger and crashed near the airfield.

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Two people have been seriously injured after a light plane collided with a digger on a truck and crashed over a rural road at an airport near Feilding this evening.

Witness Bridgette Blumenthal saw the plane collide while it was attempting to land. 

"I heard a horrific bang and everything went everywhere, " she said. "I went running out there and saw half the plane here and half the plane there.

"It was horrendous, I can't believe it. And the bloke in the truck, I don't think he could believe what happened. "

The truck was transporting the digger past the airfield.

"There were two people in the plane," Blumenthal said. "I came and got blankets for them. 

"The pilot was a woman who seemed OK and there was a man in shock."

Blumenthal said the truck towing the digger had been driving towards Campbell Rd. 

The light plane was in pieces across the road, with the cockpit and wings crumpled on the runway.

The digger was on a trailer towed by a Higgins truck. Higgins staff on the scene did not comment.

Police central communication Inspector Mike Coleman said police, fire and ambulance personnel were called to the incident near the end of the runway at Taonui Airfield at 5.07pm.

The passenger, in his early 20s, had walked away from the crash.

He was inspected by ambulance officers at the scene before being taken to Palmerston North Hospital with serious injuries, Coleman said.

CIB Detective Sergeant Ashley Gurney said two people were seriously injured in the crash and had been taken to Palmerston North Hospital.

He said it was understood that the plane clipped the digger while coming in to land.

"In daylight we can assess the damage to other vehicles," he said. 

Gurney said the CAA was aware of the incident and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission would be the investigating authority. 

An investigator would be sent up from Wellington in the morning, he said.

"They will start a scene examination and, with police assistance, conduct witness interviews," he said. 

Gurney said the road would be re-opened tonight.

He said another vehicle may have been involved.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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