Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cessna 185: Incident occurred in Port Vila, Vanuatu

A Cessna 185 (C185) aircraft belonging to Safari Airline in Port Vila crashed last Saturday morning on the grassland at the end of Baurfield International Airport cattle plantation about 700 meters away from the Bauerfield Airport.

All four passengers and the pilot were safe and walked out of the aircraft without injuries, according to the pilot and a pro-medics insider in Port Vila.

The pilot, Captain Matt Erceg from Australia who has been in Vanuatu for 20 years, confirmed the incident to the Daily Post yesterday morning.


“I took off from the Bauerfield International Airport bound for Pentecost. About 2-3 minutes after, the engine suddenly stopped. I was about 700 meters away from the airport and had to make a crash landing, which I did in the grassland just short of the trees and the bush,” he said.

“At this stage we still don’t know how the engine stopped and are looking into it,” said Matt Ecerg who has been hailed by close friends as one of the most highly experienced pilots around who has also flown aircraft around the world.

“Yes, I can confirm that I guided the aircraft down to a crash landing. The four passengers and I were safe and walked out of the aircraft safe and without injuries,” said Matt Ecerg.

I have flown for over 38 years with over 20,000 hours of flight records behind me and have been here in Vanuatu for 20 years now,” the pilot hailed as one of the most highly experienced pilots in Vanuatu told the Daily Post over the phone yesterday morning.

Daily Post arrived at the scene where the aircraft was about an hour after the Cesner 185 crash landed, but the pilot and the passengers had already left. Initial information that reached the Daily Post indicated that the aircraft went down around the Melek Tree area close to the Abbattoir.

When Daily Post was on the way there, further information was received that the plane crash landed in the Northward direction at the end of the Bauerfield Airport.

The Daily Post eventually got to the scene after a journey across the cattle plantations and almost 50 minute walk to where the aircraft crash landed.

The photo taken shows the Cessna 185 on the grassland at the edge of the tress and bushes as described by the pilot, Matt Erceg.

One of the close friend of Matt Ecerg commented to the Daily Post that: “Matt is the best and one of the most experienced pilots in this country and who has also flown around the world. It’s amazing how he guided the aircraft into a crash landing when the engine actually stopped in mid air.”

All four passengers and the pilot, Matt Ecerg walked out of the crashed  Cessna 185 safe and without injuries.

Daily Post tried early yesterday to get comments from Civil Aviation Director on the incident, Joseph Niel, but he declined to give any comment.

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