'Textbook' flying saves five lives

WELL-PLAYED: Emergency services inspect the plane that made a forced landing near Lakes Hayes.
WELL-PLAYED: Emergency services inspect the plane that made a forced landing near Lakes Hayes.

A sightseeing plane was forced to make an emergency landing near Lake Hayes yesterday, apparently after engine trouble.

The Cessna 207 aircraft, registered to Milford Sound Flights in Queenstown, was forced to land on farmland about 1.30pm on its approach to Queenstown Airport.

Police and emergency services attended but no-one was injured when the plane landed in a paddock off Alec Robins Rd.

One eyewitness said the pilot did an excellent job landing in the field.

Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman Emma Peel said an initial report suggested the engine failed but this could not be confirmed until an investigation was done. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission would consider an investigation, or the authority would conduct a desktop investigation, she said.

She said the authority was not sending an investigator but a CAA staff member who was in Queenstown had visited the paddock, she said.

The staff member planned to speak to the pilot, who was trained to map out potential landing spots in the event of engine failure.

Milford Sound Flights chief executive officer Mark Quickfall said the CAA member happened to be flying another aircraft behind the Cessna when it landed.

He said the landing was a textbook example of good flying and the pilot and four passengers were uninjured.

"The pilot did a good job.

"We now have to go through the process with CAA," he said.

Last week a Cessna 172 crashed at the Arrowtown Golf Course, killing the pilot, Ian Sloan, of Tauranga.

The Southland Times