Thursday, April 05, 2012

Accident occurred near Woodstock Ace Aviation airstrip

WITNESSES who saw an ultralight aircraft plunge about 75m to the ground say the pilot ``should have died'' after a suspected engine failure minutes after take-off. 

The 58-year-old amateur pilot, identified by witnesses as Tony Guest, was believed to be taking his first flight in a new RANS craft when it lost power after leaving the Woodstock Ace Aviation airstrip on Saturday about 9.10am.

He suffered a broken leg and possible internal injuries when the aircraft  plummeted to the ground, clipping trees and snapping the aircraft's nose and wings.

Joshua Driver, of Kelso, ran about 400m to the crash site after watching the plane dive nose-first.

``It went down the runway fine and took off and got about 250 feet when the engine experienced a loss of power but it was still flying,'' he said.

``At that height there's little opportunity to direct where you crash so he picked the best place he could and came down through the trees,'' Mr Driver said.

The 20-year-old helicopter and aeroplane mechanic said he was shocked the pilot had survived after hitting the ground with such force.

``He tried to find a suitable spot to land but he was too low to the ground and when he turned there was nothing left,'' he said.

``As soon as the plane hit the trees I started running, my mate got there first, about 100m from the runway into scrub.

``It looked like he'd broken his leg, it was twisted and he was bleeding from the nose and mouth but he was conscious and talking.''

His friend, a Defence personnel member, who did not want to be named, began stabilising the man and checking him over for any other serious injuries.

``I called 000 and went to the aircraft and turned off the ignition, radio and fuel to avoid risk of catching fire,'' he said. ``He got me to call his wife and let her know what had happened and that he was OK.''

Mr Driver said the pilot was described as ``responsible and cautious.''.

``He came out of it amazingly well, he probably should be dead or severely incapacitated,'' he said.

``The plane's aluminium wings were detached, it was a sturdy, high quality aircraft made of chrome-moly steel.

``From what we could see it was a mechanical failure, the engine had lost power and it was nothing he had done.''

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson said the man suffered a broken leg, lower back and pelvic injuries and possible internal injuries.

Emergency Management Queensland rescue helicopter flew him to Townsville Hospital for treatment.

He was in a stable condition late yesterday.

No comments:

Post a Comment