Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Plane in emergency landing on dam wall - Plover Cove Reservoir, Hong Kong

The Civil Aviation Department has ordered the Hong Kong Aviation Club to submit a report on an emergency landing by a light aircraft on the wall of Plover Cove Reservoir's main dam yesterday.

With two people aboard, the Cessna C152 aircraft landed on the 2km wall at 9.39am. The plane was reportedly undamaged and no one was injured.

Police said the emergency arose so quickly that they were only notified after the landing, so were unable to evacuate the few people visiting the dam at the time.

The reservoir is a popular site for cycling and picnics.

The plane was said to have approached the dam from the southeast and it was not known how far it travelled along the wall before coming to a stop.

Legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said it was a blessing that no one on the dam was hurt.

The 10-year-old single-engine aircraft had flown fewer than 2,000 hours and had just passed its annual inspection.

An engine problem is believed to have been the cause of the forced landing.

As a precautionary measure, the Hong Kong Aviation Club suspended flights by another aircraft of the same model pending further investigation into the cause of the incident.

The plane took off from the club's base in Shek Kong and flew to Tolo Harbour for a flying lesson, said club vice-president Cren Kwok.

On board were the club's chief flying coach, S.K. Gupta, who was in control of the aircraft at the time, and a student.

The pilot said the engine seemed to become unstable at a height of about 2,000 feet (610 metres).

The pilot carried out the necessary checks and decided not to risk flying back to Shek Kong. He then made a precautionary landing at the dam,' Mr Kwok said.

He added that Mr Gupta had flown more than 13,000 hours and had previously served as a fighter pilot.

Mr Kwok said all pilots had been trained to handle engine problems and were given guidelines to minimise the chances of endangering people on the ground during emergency landings.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said that after receiving the request for an emergency landing, it immediately cleared nearby air traffic from the area and notified fire services to be on standby.

'The pilot is responsible for picking an appropriate place for an emergency landing as he knows best the condition of the plane,' the spokesman said.

He added that the department had no information on whether the dam had been cleared for landing, but believed the pilot would not choose a place that might jeopardise the safety of others.

Civil Aviation Department director-general Norman Lo Shung-man said the department would investigate the plane's mechanical problems and interview the pilot.

After the incident, police cordoned off the scene for investigation.

An engineering team from the club arrived and towed the aircraft to the dam's helipad, where it was partially disassembled and taken to Shek Kong.

In 1996 another plane made an emergency landing at Plover Cove Reservoir's main dam, while a year earlier a plane landed at Tseung Kwan O landfill.


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