Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

It's a miracle... hero pilot and passenger walk away from THIS!

A pilot has been hailed a hero after he and his passenger walked away with only minor injuries after the light aircraft he was flying crashed in Co Down.

The small plane suffered significant damage when it crash-landed on Dairy Hall playing fields in Newtownards just before 5pm yesterday.

The aircraft managed to avoid homes when it came down just next to the town's police station.

The plane appeared to hit the ground nose-first, with its tail sticking up in the air.

The wings and cockpit appeared to be badly damaged, but miraculously the two people aboard managed to walk away from the wreckage.

John Hughes, the chairman of the Ulster Flying Club, said the aircraft was flying in over the town on an approach to Newtownards Airport when it experienced engine failure.

Numerous small aircraft and helicopters are based at the airport, which is popular with private pilots.

A Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesman said the two people on board walked from the plane largely unscathed and they were then taken to the Ulster Hospital for treatment.

The pilot, named only as Michael, is being treated for shock, and the passenger suffered a sprained wrist.

A police spokesman said: "The passenger and the pilot appear to be fine and there are no serious injuries."

A post on the Ulster Flying Club website yesterday said: "You may have already heard that G-UFCM tecnam has been involved in an accident in Newtownards late this afternoon.

"Michael was at the controls on approach to 15 and experienced an engine failure.

"With amazing skill he managed to get the aircraft in to the playing fields next to the police station.

"Both Michael and his passenger were able to exit the aircraft."

The website message added: "Both are currently at the Ulster Hospital suffering from shock and the passenger a minor wrist injury.

"I will pass on both your admiration and best wishes to Michael."

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the emergency crash landing was launched yesterday.

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