A pilot was lucky to escape with minor injuries after the light plane he was flying crash-landed in a paddock and flipped upside down just after he took off from the Pukekohe East airstrip.
The man, believed to be in his 60s, had only scratches on his hand to show for the crash at 4.30pm on Sunday.
He was the only person in the plane.
Pauline Kloeten, of Pukekohe, watched the plane take off from her bedroom window. It was in the air for 30-40 seconds before it crash-landed, she said.
"Planes go off that airstrip all the time so you subconsciously keep half an ear on them," she said.
"I saw that one go and I thought, 'Uh-oh, that does not sound right'.
"Then there was a bang and a puff of smoke after about 15 seconds and he just coasted directly across and went into the only paddock he could."
The plane crashed about 1.5 kilometres from the airstrip.
Pukekohe Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Scott Darnill said the brigade was the first emergency service to arrive.
"A pilot from Air New Zealand was there and he had already isolated all the fuel and made the plane safe," Darnill said.
After making some checks, the brigade turned the scene over to police. The pilot was lucky to escape with minor injuries, he said.
Abe Kloeten spoke to the pilot 45 minutes after the crash and said he "seemed remarkably calm".
The pilot received medical checks before he was transported back to his car at the Ardmore Airport.
Police and the Civil Aviation Authority are investigating the cause of the crash.
- Waikato Times