GROUNDED: The pilot and passenger of the aircraft at the crash scene near Three Chain Road.Picture: JACKLYN WAGNER
GROUNDED: The pilot and passenger of the aircraft at the crash scene near Three Chain Road.Picture: JACKLYN WAGNER

Men walk away from aircraft crash

By RENEE REDMOND

TWO men escaped unharmed after their two-seater Jabiru experimental aircraft lost power and crashed nose first into a flood canal at a vacant paddock near Three Chain Road in South Lismore yesterday morning.

The Townsville pilot was in Lismore to show the Goonellabah businessman, who also owns a Jabiru aircraft, how to fly the plane.

Bob Martin, of Lismore House Spraying, saw the plane and heard the crash from his business, which is next door to the vacant paddock.

The plane went down at 11.15am.

"I was working in the back shed when I heard a big bang and saw the plane over in the paddock. I didn't see it coming down but I saw it hit. I called the ambulance and raced over to them," he said.

Bob said by the time he arrived the Townsville pilot and his Goonellabah passenger, both aged 33, had already got themselves out of the aircraft.

"They were standing outside the plane, probably wondering what happened," he said.

Richmond Local Area Command Detective Inspector, Scott Bingham, said the plane lost power while the men were practicing take-offs and landings.

"The pilot tried to return to the airport but due to the loss of power, he crash landed in the vacant paddock," he said.

"The pilot was treated at the scene for bruising and grazing on the left knee but the passenger was not injured. Both men were a little shaken from it though."

Inspector Bingham said 30 litres of aviation fuel had spilled from the wings into the flood canal, but the NSW Fire Brigade were able to contain it.

The crash was also attended by police and ambulance.

The aircraft was towed to the airport, which is adjacent to the paddock.

NSW Fire Brigade officers and the two men involved in the accident helped steady the aircraft as a crane lifted it off the tow truck. The pilot said he would lodge a report with the Air Transport Investigation Bureau, but would not comment further.



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