ACCIDENT SCENE: Emergency services at the scene of a light aircraft mishap on the main runway at Ballina Airport yesterday morning.
ACCIDENT SCENE: Emergency services at the scene of a light aircraft mishap on the main runway at Ballina Airport yesterday morning. Doug Eaton

Pilot escapes serious injury after plane flips at Ballina

A PILOT was lucky to escape serious injury when the single-engine Cessna he was landing at Ballina airport yesterday flipped onto its roof.

Richmond Local Area Command duty officer Mick Dempsey said the 67-year-old man had taken off from Lismore airport and was preparing to land at Ballina Airport about 9.50 am.

Insp Dempsey said the pilot, who was not seriously injured, was the only occupant of the four-seater aircraft.

"He touched down on the runway and moments after he touched down a wind gust has struck the plane and caused him to lift," he said.

"On the second touchdown, the plane left the sealed runway onto the grass verge and one of the front landing wheels struck a runway lighting box.

"The plane then tipped over onto one side and came to rest on its roof."

NSW Fire and Rescue Ballina brigade captain Dennis Henry said fire fighters and police helped turn the stricken aircraft over onto its wheels.

Once the plane was back on its landing gear, Mr Henry said it was towed by two NSW Fire and Rescue trucks to a nearby hangar.

He said the Cessna appeared to have only sustained minor damage to its propeller and the front left side of the aircraft.

Ballina Shire Council operates the airport and general manager Paul Hickey said he had been informed there were some delays to flights.

"Jetstar was held on the ground in Sydney once advised of the incident, so they are delayed about an hour," he said.

Mr Hickey said the Jetstar flight, due to land at 11.15am, was delayed until 12.20pm. "Rex was already in the air but was only delayed about five minutes."

Police have referred the incident to air safety investigators.



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