The pilot of a microlight that crashed in a paddock yesterday afternoon was lucky to walk away with minor injuries, witnesses said.
Emergency services were called to the scene at Waipahi, between Gore and Clinton, at 3.21pm after they were alerted to the crash by Waipahi resident Alastair Sell, who lives near the scene of the accident.
He was visiting a neighbour when he saw the microlight flying low to the ground before he lost sight if it. He then moved to another window and said the pilot had turned the microlight almost 180 degrees, "obviously to try and catch the wind".
"The propeller, which is normally a blur, was moving slowly and then it was in a still position."
The pilot then attempted an emergency landing before hitting the ground. Mr Sell ran over to the crash site and when he arrived the pilot was getting out of the aircraft.
"He had a big lump on his head but other than that he seemed OK," he said.
The pilot told Mr Sell he was performing an emergency landing when he hit tree tops and crashlanded.
Detective Sergeant Greg Baird, of Gore, said the pilot suffered minor injuries and was taken to Gore Hospital by ambulance.
The microlight would be secured overnight and recovered in due course, he said.
It was too early to speculate on what had caused the accident, but it had been reported to the Civil Aviation Authority which would be investigating, Mr Baird said.
"There is moderate damage to the front of the plane".
Gore, Tapanui and Pukerau fire brigades attended as well as police and St John from Gore and Clinton.
- The Southland Times
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