A PARACHUTE CLUB'S AIRPLANE started falling apart shortly after takeoff Saturday afternoon and crashed in a farm field near Namur, Belgium. The pilot and all ten skydiver passengers were killed in the crash that left the plane a jumble of pieces and parts. The remaining fuel ignited and started the plane burning after coming down at 4 pm local time.
The PC-6 Pilatus Porter plane had taken off from the Temploux aerodrome but is thought to have developed a wing problem after reaching a height of about 3,000 metres.
Benolit Pierson, who was in his garden nearby at the time, said, "I just saw this plane bobbing violently up and down. It was obviously having great difficulty staying airborne and then it suddenly lost its right wing in mid-flight. I heard a massive bang. There was another massive explosion and ten seconds later it crashed."
He told Belgian television that seconds before it hit the ground, he saw three parachutists come out of the plane and try in vain to open their parachutes. "They appeared to be desperately trying to open their parachutes but it was much too late."
Michel Douront, a local fire chief, said: "It would normally take a plane like this 15 minutes to reach 4,000m so, as this happened after only ten minutes into the flight, it must have been at a height of about 3,000m. It appears to be a tragic accident."
The exact cause of the accident was still being investigated. Pieces of wing were found several hundred meters from the crash site.
All of the victims were between the ages of 20 and 40. The pilot had just become a father for the 2nd time earlier this week.
RTL TV1 has some candid crash scenes in this video report:
La Libre has the earlyreport along with a photo gallery HERE.
Updated, 10 pm Eastern: DashCam video taken on highway as plane crashes added. Scroll down.
Update #2, Sunday 10 am: Death count rises and additional video posted. Scroll down.
A RED WINGS AIRLINES TU-204 airliner crashed Saturday afternoon after overrunning the runway at Moscow Vnukovo International Airport following a flight from the Czech Republic. The aircraft broke up and caught fire after landing on a highway. The plane was returning to the airline's base at Vnukovo after taking a charter group to Czech. There were no paying passeners on board, but 8 crew members were and 4 of them were reported to have been killed.
RT / Live Journal
Russia Today is reporting:
The incident took place at around 16:35 local time (12:35 GMT). Preliminary reports say the jet, which belongs to Russian low-cost airline Red Wings, crashed after taking a second landing attempt. It rolled out from the runway into Kievskoye Highway, fell into three pieces and caught fire. The fire area of 100 square meters was extinguished by firefighters, officials said.
Two people were reportedly found dead at the scene, while a 27-year-old woman died on the way to hospital. Whether the fourth person died at the scene or in the ambulance remains unclear. Those killed are the captain, the co-pilot, the flight engineer and a flight attendant, the Emergencies Ministry declared.
Four people taken to Moscow hospitals – three flight attendants and a technical staff – remain in a critical condition. They have sustained traumatic brain injuries, say medical officials.
Russia Today also filed this comprehensive video report:
Update, 10 pm:
A passenger car traveling on the highway had a dashcam rolling when the plane crashed into the area immediately below. The video shows the highway as plane parts come flying across the traffic lanes and impacting the passing cars. Vid includes the sound:
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Update #2, Sunday 10 am Eastern:
It is reported that one of the early survivors has succombed to her injuries. One of four crew members who intially survived the crash, a female flight attendant died at the hospital during the night.
Russia Today has also posted and informative video update on the crash:
The plane had just taken off from the Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley when the 4-seater crashed about a mile away into a residential neighborhood. Some eyewitnesses are saying that the single-engine Socata TB10, a French brand, caught fire with an audible ka-boom before it plunged to the ground with the pilot apparently steering the plane away from homes and crashing into a parking lot against a dumpster.
The plane is registered to a man in Orlando, Florida, and the Brookhaven airport says that it had been parked there for about a month before it took off today.
The pilot's remains were left in the cabin until FAA
investigators arrived. (Buff Network via Gothamist)
MJMDer posted this YouTube recording of the police channel that picks up just before the dispatch and continues until they switch over to an alternate frequency. It is an interesting recording:
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AN ELK GROVE, CALIFORNIA, FIREFIGHTER Brian Brown, his wife and their grown daughter were flying in their private plane from California to Mountain Home, Idaho, Saturday night when they crashed into an Idaho mountainside around 9 pm Mountain. All three of them were trapped and suffering from head and back injuries with darkness settling in.
One of the three used a cellphone just after midnight to report that they had survived the crash.
A medical helicopter located the wreckage Sunday morning, but white-out conditions prevented the aircraft crew from carrying out an immediate rescue, said Col. Tim Marsano of the Idaho National Guard.
Rescuers on foot traveling through 6-foot snow drifts and on 60 degree slopes reached the crash site first. They wrapped the family members in blankets and built a fire until a military helicopter could lift them out with a hoist.
Owyhee County Sheriff
"It was inhospitable for a landing," Marsano said. "The use of the helicopter was indispensable for this type of rescue operation."
As the search-rescue team warmed the Brown family and immobilized them for transport, the Idaho National Guard began lifting them out around noon Sunday and taking them one at a time to a nearby location where a medical helicopter awaited and then transferred them to a hospital in Boise where they are currently listed in stable condition.
The aircraft is a Cessna 172 and it is not yet known why it went down.
KTVB-TV posted this video report Sunday night with additional views of the incident:
TWO LIGHT PLANES HAVE CRASHED In the past 24 hours killing all passengers on both aircraft, one in northern New Jersey and the other in Brazos County, Texas.
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A SINGLE-ENGINE PRIVATE AIRCRAFT that had just taken off from the Teterboro, New Jersey, airport at 9:51 am Eastern., bound for DeKalb-Peachtree Airport near Atlanta crashed on a busy Interstate highway. All five people on board were killed.
A few minutes after takeoff, the pilot spoke with air traffic controllers about icing conditions, said Robert Gretz, a senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. But the pilot did not sound distressed, and it was unclear if he was reporting ice on his wings or simply asking about areas that could be icy.
The plane disappeared from radar at 17,500 feet. The crash occurred 14 minutes after takeoff.
Early reports say that the plane suddenly started spiraling out of control and shedding parts as it dropped, then a wing came off and the fuselage dropped straight down into a wooded area in the median of Interstate 287 across the river from New York City. Parts were strewn over an area of a half-mile and the debris burst into flame in several spots.
On board the private single-engine turbo-prop, according to a press release from a New York City investment bank, Greenhill & Co., were two of its managing directors, Jeffrey F. Buckalew, 45, and Rakesh Chawla, 36, both from New York City. Buckalew’s wife, Corinne, and their two children, Jackson and Meriwether, also were on board.
WABC-TV posted this raw video taken from their helicopter shortly after the crash:
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A SINGLE-ENGINE PIPER SARATOGA AIRCRAFT that was flying from Atlanta to Waco, Texas, Monday night went down as it passed through violent weather around 10 pm Central. The crash killed all five passengers who were family members from Georgia.
Air traffic control said that the plane knew of the bad weather and had requested a new flight path around it. When the controller gave them directions to avoid it, the pilot mistakenly turned in the opposite direction and shortly after the plane came down in a field near College Station.
KWTX-TV filed this video report from the scene:
The Associated Press tells that Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, identified the victims as 33-year-old Michael D. Butler; his 34-year-old wife Kelly; their 14-year-old daughter Brooke; and son Braden, age 2. The family was from Stockbridge, Georgia, south of Atlanta. Also killed was the pilot’s brother, David S. Butler, 37, of Mount Clam, Texas.
APSN NATL ALERT: PINAL COUNTY ARIZONA: LARGE AIRCRAFT CRASH – LOST DUTCHMAN MINE AREA (NEAR APACHE JCT). PINAL COUNTY SHERIFF REPORTING MULTIPLE LARGE EXPLOSIONS. SEVERAL 911 CALLERS REPORTED SEEING A PLANE FLY INTO THE MOUNTAIN. NO EMERGENCY PERSONNEL ON SCENE AT THIS TIME, BUT PCSO IS REPORTING A CONFIRMED PLANE DOWN.
The emergency alert was transmitted shortly after 6:30 pm Mountain time Wednesday evening after a twin-engine private aircraft flew at full speed into the side of Superstition Mountain in northern Arizona.
East Valley Tribune photo
This home video camera was already set up and taping the view for an undisclosed reason when the plane flew into the frame. You can see the airplane's lights entering from the left-hand edge of the view and traveling to the right until the impact at the 55-second mark:
The plane was believed to have been carrying six family members and it was immediately announced that there appeared to be no survivors. The crash site is in an especially rugged terrain and there were no emergency units anywhere around that could reach the crash zone in a timely manner.
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said three children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old were among the six on board when the plane went down. PCSO spokesman Elias Johnson confirmed the body of one of the children was recovered at the crash site just before 10 p.m. The age and gender of the child are unknown at this time.
During a Wednesday night press conference, Sheriff Paul Babeu said 10 deputies were flown to the top of Flat Iron Mountain to search the area, but had difficulty locating the passengers. According to Babeu, it "does not look promising" that anyone on board survived the fiery crash.
As of 10 p.m., the plane fuselage was still burning in the rugged terrain atop the mountain range, making it hard for crews to access the crash site. Babeu said deputies and other agencies called in to assist will continue searching the area through the night. Teams from the National Transportation Safety Board are scheduled to visit the site at noon on Thursday.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer told ABC15 the twin engine Rockwell AC69 plane "crashed under unknown circumstances." Kenitzer said the plane, registered to Ponderosa Aviation Inc. out of Safford, Ariz., had just departed from Falcon Field in Mesa before crashing. It appears the aircraft initially left from Safford and stopped at the East Valley airfield around 4:30 p.m. to refuel.
The explosive crash sent up a large fireball that was witnessed by many people in the area and the flaming debris set many small brush fires all around the crash site that were still burning several hours later.
A witness identified as Lou Adams told KNXV-TV in Phoenix that he was camping in the mountains when he heard a loud noise, then saw a "fireball and a couple of pieces disappear behind the mountain. I could definitely see it fell out of the sky."
Rescue crews struggled to reach the crash site in the Superstition Mountains, uneven terrain with jagged peaks and deep crevices. The plane slammed into a mountainside in an area so remote that deputies had to be airlifted to it in pairs.
They found two debris fields with still-smoldering wreckage wedged into crevices, Babeu said. The plane had refueled in Mesa, which probably helped fan the large, post-crash fireball that residents spotted from the valley floor.
Update: KPHO-TV is reporting that the airplane flew from its base in Safford to Falcon Field in Mesa to pick up three children, all between the ages of 5 and 9, for Thanksgiving. (Sheriff Babeau) says besides a pilot, a mechanic and another adult were also on board. The area is being searched by helicopters equipped with infra-red cameras. KPHO also filed this video update:
At the time of this posting it is still dark in Arizona. Firegeezer will update this report later today when more information is made available.
Update, 11 am Eastern:
It has been confirmed that the three children were siblings. They were being taken to be with their father over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Los Angeles Times is reporting:
Elias Johnson with the Pinal County Sheriff's Department spoke to the Los Angeles Times from the scene of the crash on Thanksgiving morning. "Six people — three children, two of them boys and one girl" were killed, Johnson said. Three of those aboard were adult men.
The mother of the children lives in Arizona's Pinal County, where the crash took place in a mountainous area near Flatiron. "I personally made a visit and notification" to the mother "with the information we had late last night. The mother is a pilot herself," Johnson said. "She understands when a plane crashes at 230 miles an hour … directly into the face of the mountain … and when it's a fiery crash" there's little hope of survivors. "So she understood that."
No confirmation yet on the identities of the three adults nor any mention if one of them might be the children's father. Check back later for further updates.
Update #2, 9:30 pm Eastern:
It has been confirmed that the pilot was the children's father.
The plane apparently crashed near the crest of the mountain, just short of clearing it. The estimated speed of the aircraft at impact is 230 mph.
Fuselage broken into two pieces. (KNXV-TV)
As soon as it was light, helicopters began lowering the search and rescue posse, additional deputies, and federal aviation officials to the mountain top. From there they descended to the crash site and the 40 search specialists repelled into the many crevices looking for any further victims. Their mission was to remove the bodies without disturbing any of the evidence. They also photographed and documented as much of the crash scene that they could before 4 pm when they had to leave with high winds expected to pick up shortly after that.
KSAZ-TV Ch. 10 has a good video showing the crash site and explaining the arduous search methods being used:
Ch. 10 also posted the sheriff's press conference:
AN ULTRA-LIGHT AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO AN OPERATING Ferris Wheel Saturday afternoon near Sydney, Australia.
The wheel was set up at a rural fair and was designed for children only. But a light rain had started falling and only five children were on the ride when the ultra-light carrying a pilot and one passenger inexplicably flew into the framework of the amusement ride.
This ITN video report includes a bystanders video that caught the impact:
Two of the children, ages 13 and 9 were trapped in their seat but were freed after about an hour. The pilot and passenger were trapped in the wreckage for three hours while the fire brigade cautiously worked to extricate them. The two men were enveloped inside the fuselage with their seatbelts wrapped around them as fuel from the gas tank leaked onto the machinery of the ride. The firefighters had to maintain a foam blanket over the spill as they worked to release the two men by utilizing an overhead crane.
One eyewitness told the Sydney Morning Herald:
''I was watching and saw the little plane take off to the south. It wasn't gaining height from the moment it left the ground. I was thinking: 'What's this guy doing?' He was slightly to the left of the airfield where the temporary Ferris wheel has been erected.
''He started to veer to the left and he flew straight into the second from top carriage on the right hand side … there were lots of ambulances and fire crews using foam and water because the plane dropped its fuel. When the plane took off there was very little breeze, if any."
The 52-yr.-old pilot said that he never saw the wheel and he was surprised to find himself tangled up in it.
Air safety authorities are wanting to find out why the ferris wheel was erected right next to the airstrip, but neighbors say it has been set up in the same spot during the fair for at least six years.
ABC News carried the STORY.
The Sydney Morning Herald has MORE.
A LIGHT PLANE CRASHED SUNDAY MORNING near Tehachapi, California, killing the pilot and starting a destructive grass fire. A stiff breeze with 40 mph gusts fanned the fire in the sparsely occupied area and before fire units were notified and responding, it grew to several hundred acres and consumed one home.
The Cessna 210 went down at 11:30 am killing the pilot and his passenger on impact. Initially 30 homes were evacuated, but later it was expanded to 100 homes.
The Associated Press prepared this video report prior to the discovery of the 2nd victim:
By 9:30 pm Sunday night the fire had grown to cover 3,500 acres with 0% containment. There are 600 firefighters on the scene, but extra-rugged terrain is preventing them from getting an effective perimeter around the fire. Seven air tankers and four helicopters joined the fight before dark.
The Bakersfield Californian has the STORY.
KERO-TV has MORE.
AT THE 49th PARIS INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW last week, among the many new and developing aircraft on display was the recently designed Russian firefighting aircraft/tanker, the Beriev 202.
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Firegeezer thanks Mark Donovan for finding and sending along those pix as well as the information that:
The Russian Emergencies Ministry signed a $330 million contract with the Beriev design bureau for the procurement of eight Be-202 Altair amphibious planes configured for firefighting according to the Russian news agency Novosti. The Altair is the largest multipurpose amphibious aircraft currently operational. This acquisition comes as a quick reaction to the criticism of Russian authorities failing to contain wildfires raging through western Russia for two months in the summer of 2010.
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Our Balkan correspondent Nenad Ilisic sends us another story about a firefighting airplane:
On the island of Brac in Croatia, a wildfire force of five firetrucks with 15 firefighters, 2 CL-415 aircraft, two AT-802's (AirTractor), and one MI-8 helicopter were attacking a wildfire that started in a garbage dump on Saturday afternoon about 3:30 pm.
One of the AirTractors crashed in a creviss in the mountains and the pilot was injured. The area is almost inaccessable, but he was removed successfully and transported to the hospital where he is expected to recover.
The downed plane is seen in the lower left of the photo
(Photos via Dnevnik)
Police and aircraft safety investigators are on the scene. Online newspaper Dnevnik has the STORY.
They also filed this brief video with coverage of both the fire and the plane. Unfortunately the obscured the picture with the maddening credit overlay:
A TWIN-ENGINE AIRCRAFT CRASHED shortly after taking off from the Opa-Locka airport around 8 am Monday, clipping two automobiles before coming to rest against a house.
The early report from the Miami-Dade Fire Department says that they don't yet know if the automobiles or house were occupied at the time. All of them were burning when the first fire units arrived. They have confirmed that one person is dead (probably the pilot). WSVN-TV is reporting:
The plane crashed through some trees, a metal fence and into two cars before bursting into flames on the side of a home near Northwest 157 Street and 38 Way. According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the call came in at 8:10 a.m. "It was going on a charter to the Bahamas. We do have information that there is one person at least, that is dead. It doesn't look like anybody else is dead. NTSB will be investigating," said a Public Information Officer of the Miami Gardens Police Department.
Firefighters quickly arrived on the scene and doused the fierce flames with water and foam. The fire did spread to the side of the home, but firefighters managed to put out the fire before spreading to the entire home.
It is unknown if anyone else was on board the aircraft. "Obviously, we definitely have at least one fatality, which is the pilot. We don't have any information that there are any other occupants on the plane," said a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Official.
They have since confirmed that nobody was in the house at the time of the crash. The plane is an older Beechcraft registered to the Aircap Management Company and was carrying cargo to Bahamas.
WSVN-TV's traffic helicopter was in the area when the plane went down and recorded some video within a few moments after the crash. View their video report HERE.
NBC News has posted this raw video taken just after the fire units arrived:
A SINGLE-ENGINE AIRCRAFT THAT HAD reported engine trouble on takeoff was attempting to return to the Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling, Illinois, when it crashed onto a parking lot and burst into fire at 3 pm Wednesday.
photo by Larry Shapiro
The six-seater 1978 Beech had just turned around after reporting to the tower of an engine problem and losing altitude, when it radio’d that it was 30 seconds away from the runway. Instead, it clipped a multi-tenant warehouse and crashed into a parking lot, landing on a car.
Larry Shapiro photo
There were two people on board, one of whom died immediately. The other passenger was found 30 ft. away from the wreckage by the first-arrivng units. He had multiple fractures and extensive burns, but was conscious. An air ambulance was summoned for him to take him to a hospital in Park Ridge.
Larry Shapiro photo
The fire spread to a second car, and the airplane was completely consumed, yet no other injuries occurred.
The Jacksonville (Illinois) Journal Courier has this report on the passengers who are from Jacksonville, as well as the plane’s owner who was not in the plane:
Benjamin VanHyning of Jacksonville was the passenger who was killed in a plane that crashed about a half mile from Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling.
The pilot, Todd Cole, was sent to Lutheran General Hospital and then transferred to Loyola University Health Systems because the nature of his injuries were related to burns and Loyola is the best unit in the Chicago-area, authorities said.
The plane was owned by G. Ronald Kesinger, also of Jacksonville.
The Journal-Courier confirmed through family members that Kesinger was not aboard the plane. He underwent minor surgery at a Springfield hospital Wednesday morning and was hospitalized at the time his plane crashed.
Kesinger hired somebody to fly the newly purchased plane back to Jacksonville for him, according to Illinois State Police District of Chicago. It was the recently purchased plane that crashed.
A SINGLE-ENGINE AIRCRAFT CRASHED IN A RESIDENTIAL neighborhood in Roy, Utah, Sunday night. The pilot of the Cessna 210 was attempting to land at an airfield in a heavy fog at 6 pm Mountain time when he clipped a power line about three blocks away from the airstrip. The mishap caused him to crash next to two houses where the resulting fuel explosion set both of them on fire.
A neighbor ran to the burning plane and found the pilot, who was alone in the aircraft, several feet away from the wreckage. The 46-yr.-old pilot was transported to the hospital and then transferred to the University of Utah Hospital burn center where he is in critical but stable condition this morning.
The pilot was attempting to reach the Ogden-Hinckley Airport which is just 6 miles outside of Ogden. KTVX-TV Ch. 4 reported: Gerald Nichols, a witness to the crash recalls, “There was a loud crash and boom that just shook the whole house, and then an orange ball of fire into the sky.”
“There is no plane, just parts lying everywhere, and the pilot is lying in the road,” says Val Sanders, a man who rushed to help the pilot. “We talked to him, he said he was coming in from Lake Powell, and said he didn’t remember coming in, but he knew he had a wife and daughter,” says Sanders.
The Deseret News
No other homes were set on fire, but several had damage from flying debris and some trees were set ablaze. Parts of the plane were scattered for a block in all directions. The Roy Fire Department handled the two burning homes easily and soon had both fires knocked down.
The Deseret News has the full story and a 30-image photo gallery HERE.
A TWIN-ENGINE AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO a home in western Pennsylvania at 9:20 am Saturday morning. The plane burst into flames immediately and has burned down the house. Reportedly all the occupants of the home were able to escape with their lives.
The crash occurred in a rural area of Westmoreland County near Pittsburgh. KDKA-TV is reporting:
One man was home at the time of the crash. He was in the basement and was able to make it out safely. (his) wife and step-daughter were not home at the time of the crash.
The man said that the plane crashed into the room where his wife normally paints.
FAA officials say that they don’t yet know where the plane took off from or where it was going. They haven’t yet located the flight plan, but the type of plane that crashed is capable of traveling 300 miles on a load of fuel. So far, there has been no determination of how many people were onboard the aircraft. Most of the identifying number on the plane has been destroyed in the fire.
Update, 4:30 pm:
The Associated Press is reporting that two bodies have been recovered from the crash site, but efforts to search wreckage is continuing.
Westmoreland County spokesman Dan Stevens said the plane went through the house and landed in the garage, passing just to the right of the man when it came down in a rural area about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the BE58 Beech Baron took off from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pa., at 9:08 a.m. Saturday and crashed 11 minutes later.
Stevens said the bodies were recovered from the wreckage shortly after 3 p.m. after rescuers unearthed the plane from the collapsed garage. He said officials believed only two people were aboard but were continuing the search and had not yet unearthed the tail section and confirmed the identification number. The bricks and concrete blocks making up the garage walls and roof had buried the plane, and rescuers were removing it brick by brick, he said.
Stevens said local officials believed they knew who the plane belonged to but would release no information until they could confirm the tail number.
WPXI-TV has filed this video taken shortly after the crash via CNN:
Update, Sunday am: Death toll doubles to 4. Scroll down for video report.
A SMALL CESSNA AIRPLANE PLUNGED NOSE-FIRST into a high school in the small eastern Arizona town of Eagar on Friday afternoon. The hard crash caused an immediate explosion and fire that destroyed one entire section of the school, and killed the pilot and his passenger in the plane. There were no injuries on the ground.
Apache County Sheriff’s Office Commander Matrese Avila says a small Cessna crashed into the high school, and officials evacuated homes in the neighborhoods to the north and east of the school because of high winds and some fuel tanks located nearby.
After taking off from the Springerville aiport, the Cessna circled the area two or three times before it suddenly crashed into the main building at Round Valley High School in Eagar at about 2 p.m., Apache County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Guinn said. Several reports are indicating that the plane may have been trying to make an emergency landing on the practice football field next to the Round Valley Ensphere Dome, which is the football stadium on the high school’s campus.
E. W. Scripps / Crick
Fire departments from 12 surrounding communities responded to work the extensive fire that was being fanned by high afternoon winds.
KNXV-TV Ch. 15 Phoenix has this video report from the scene:
The victims have not been publicly identified other than the fact that they are not locals.
The Round Valley High School in Eagar was closed for the summer. It serves about 500 students in Eagar and nearby Springerville and is about 200 miles east of Phoenix.
Update, Sunday morning:
After investigators were able to physically get into the wreckage, they discovered that there were two additional passengers in the plane for a total of four on board, all of whom were killed immediately.
KNXV-TV Ch. 15 has this video update along with some interesting inteviews:
AN AUSTRALIAN AIRFORCE PILOT TRAINEE PROVED HIS METTLE SUNDAY when the engine on his small single-engine plane failed, causing him to force a landing on a busy Tasmanian highway just after 10 am. Patrick Humphries, 18, was practicing aerobatics in a private plane when the engine stalled.
Mr Humphries chartered the single-engine Victa Airtourer early yesterday morning, practising aerobatics about 3000ft above the picturesque Ralphs Bay. During an Easter break from Canberra’s ADF academy to be with his family, he had decided to reacquaint himself with his home state.
In the terrifying instant when the engine stopped, Mr Humphries’ heart sank before his instincts kicked in. “I went through all of my checks but was unable to re-start the engine. I then began selecting a place to land,” he said. “I considered several football fields and had a look at a couple of roads but quickly ruled them out because of the cars on them.”
A nearby rugby field looked OK until, on descent, he noticed parked cars. Fast running out of time, he scanned below him … houses, river, hockey field. “When I looked at the Brooker [highway], I noticed that there were no cars on the highway as they were stopped at the traffic lights,” he said. “I decided that this was the best option.”
But as the plane dropped, Mr Humphries realised there was an overpass ahead. “I knew it would be a tight fit and I was glad I made it through,” he said. “Then I tried to slow the aircraft down as much as possible before touching down.” With little steering control, Mr Humphries clipped a concrete road divider with the right wing. He lifted the wing to force the aircraft to the left and avoid the barrier.
But the plane spun out of control after clipping a tree, breaking the left wing in two and snapping the left-hand landing gear, before an embankment near Cleary’s Gates finally brought it to a stop.
As soon as the plane came to a stop, he hopped out and ran down the road to stop traffic before they came speeding up onto the crash scene. He then directed traffic around the broken plane until the police arrived.
Looking snappier than a Virginia State Trooper, a Tasman policeman
directs traffic around the plane wreck. (The Mercury photo)
A LIGHT PLANE CRASHED AT THE KALAMAZOO – BATTLE CREEK airport in Michigan this morning, killing the pilot who was the only person on board. Witnesses say that the plane was taking off when the engine started “sputtering” and “popping” while trying to gain altitude. The pilot appeared to try and direct it over to a nearby parking lot to land, but it dropped too quickly and then plowed through a fence and caught on fire.
Some bystanders ran to the plane to help the pilot, but the flames were too intense to get near the cockpit. Police have not yet positively identified the victim, but the plane is registered to a Canadian citizen.
The plane had just had some sort of maintenance or repair work done and this was its first flight after it was completed.