Senior couple hurt in plane crash landing

By Sandra Conchie, Sonya Bateson

1 comment

A Tauranga couple whose light plane crashed while coming into land at a private airstrip escaped serious injuries.

However, a 69-year-old woman from the crash was flown to Tauranga Hospital with leg injuries and a 72-year-old man was also being treated in the hospital's emergency department last night.

A Tauranga Hospital spokesman said the couple were expected to be treated and discharged.

Fire Service spokeswoman Megan Ruru said a 111 call came in about the crash at 3.30pm yesterday. The plane involved came to rest on the side of hill about 2km along Waitao Rd, and the crash resulted in a small fuel leak. A woman who was in the plane was treated at the scene before she was airlifted to hospital.

The Rotorua-based BayTrust Rescue Helicopter landed next to a second plane which was flying with the crashed aircraft. Photo/George Novak
The Rotorua-based BayTrust Rescue Helicopter landed next to a second plane which was flying with the crashed aircraft. Photo/George Novak

A reporter at the crash scene said two fire trucks were parked at the end of a Waitao Rd driveway, which was cordoned off.

A St John ambulance could also be seen parked at a nearby house, which was some distance away from the plane crash site. The plane could not be seen from the road.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Mike Richards said the couple had been doing a practice flight in their Murphy Super Rebel 2500, similar to a Cessna, ahead of their trip south.

The plane crashed after it over-ran a bank at the end of runway and, while there was some damage to the aircraft, the couple escaped without serious injury, he said.

Mr Richards said the pilot had a current licence and the "minor accident" was being investigated by the authority.

Papamoa chief fire officer Allan Bicker said the crashed aircraft was one of two planes flying in convoy on a practice flight ahead of a planned flying trip to the South Island.

The plane crashed while coming into land on a private airstrip and the other aircraft landed nearby to make sure the pilot and passenger were okay, he said.

Mr Bicker said fortunately there were no life-threatening injuries, but the woman in the plane was suspected to have dislocated her leg.

The extent of the damage to the plane was not known last night.

Mr Bicker said the crash site was only accessible by four-wheel drive.

Read more: Aviation community shocked at glider's death

Pilot of the Rotorua-based BayTrust Rescue Helicopter Ben Fry said the helicopter was used because of the rough terrain and remote location of the accident.

This is the second aircraft crash in the district within a week.

Katikati businessman Gavin Harvey, 40, suffered critical injuries after his glider crashed on landing at Tauranga Airport on May 1. He died in Waikato Hospital on May 3.

- additional reporting NZME

- Bay of Plenty Times

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