Monday, January 27, 2014

Barwon Heads, Victoria, Australia

A mechanical fault forced the Tiger Moth biplane to land on the sand at Thirteenth Beach shortly after 1.30pm on Monday. 

Witnesses say as many as 50 people were on the beach on the public holiday, and many began running and panicking as the aircraft descended.

It was a near miss for Jeanne van Amerongen, 62, who was visiting from the Netherlands, and her young granddaughter Robin.

She whisked Robin away "just in time", and the plane missed them by about a metre.

Alex Keynes said others on the beach were screaming.

"It was very lucky no one was hurt because there were a lot of people standing around," Mr Keynes said.

The pilot and the sole passenger of the plane were not injured in the landing.

Mr Keynes said the engine did not appear to be running as the plane lost altitude and landed on the beach.

The biplane belongs to Tiger Moth World, an adventure-flight company based at Torquay Airport.

Tiger Moth World manager Sandra Walsh said engineers would assess the problems with the aircraft before it was deemed safe to remove from the beach.

"The aeroplane is fine, and the passenger is happy," she said.

The Tiger Moth can "really glide" when it needs to land, she said.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau spokesman Michael Squires said a mechanical fault was believed to be the cause of the emergency landing.

He said authorities would gather more details of the incident before deciding if an investigation would be required.


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