Plane flips during crash landing
Pilot lucky to escape with minor scratchesSHAUN EADE
A pilot was lucky to escape with minor injuries after the light plane he was flying crashed landed into a paddock and flipped upside down not long after he took off from the Pukekohe East airstrip.
The man, believed to be in his 60s, only had scratches on his hand to show for the crash which happened at 4.30pm on Sunday.
He was the only person in the plane.
Pukekohe's Pauline Kloeten watched the plane take off from her bedroom window and said it was in the air for 30-40 seconds before it crash-landed.
''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 'Oh 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 they were the first emergency service there.
''A pilot from Air New Zealand was there and he had already isolated all the fuel and made the plane safe,'' he said.
After carrying out some checks, they turned the scene over to the police. He said the pilot was very lucky to escape with minor injuries.
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.