Pilots escape from separate plane crashes

06:43, Jun 29 2013
Plane crashes
This light plane landed heavily in bush west of Auckland.
Plane crashes
The plane's undercarriage was destroyed in the crash.
Plane crashes
Checking out the damage to this plane after it crashed at Lake Station, near Nelson.

It's been a lucky day for pilots around the country today, with three walking away from plane crashes.

One suffered minor injuries after a light aircraft was forced into making an emergency landing west of Auckland this afternoon.

The plane came down near the Parakai Airfield, about 48km from Auckland, shortly before 1pm, crashing into bush.

A St John Ambulance spokeswoman said one person was treated for minor injuries. But no one was taken to hospital.

And in Nelson, two pilots were left ''astonished'' but unharmed after their light aircraft crashed during takeoff at Lake Station.

Student pilot Peter Willis and co-pilot Ken Millward were taking part in a Nelson Aero Club event at the alpine airstrip when the engine failed on their microlight aircraft as it was climbing out of a low level pass.

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The engine on the Coyote II completely failed at about 750 feet at which point Millward took control of the aircraft and turned it back to airstrip, but noticed another light plane had taken off.

He chose to land the aircraft in the best available space but was faced with a crosswind and their plane crashed.  

The impact completely destroyed the undercarriage.

Witnesses saw the place ''bounce'' heavily after it hit the ground then bury its nose as the undercarriage broke.

Club members have hailed the pilot's skills in preventing a worse accident.

''We're both astonished but we just have to deal with ,'' said Millward who issued two mayday calls as events unfolded.

''I said a few choice words when I saw the other plane was taking off.''

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