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City Beach plane crash: Pilot and passenger make remarkable escape after ‘engine issues’ on hobby flight

A pilot and a passenger have made an unbelievable escape after crashing in a light aircraft off City Beach.

WA Police Inspector Vic Hussey said two men, aged in their 50s, had been about 20 to 30 minutes into a hobby flight from Jandakot Airport when the pilot reported engine troubles.

A small air craft has crashed at City Beach - 13/11/2021
Camera IconThe two men speak to police after their unbelievable escape. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

After circling several times, the pilot made the decision to ditch the small aircraft into the water, about 20 metres off shore, about 3.30pm.

A small air craft has crashed at City Beach - 13/11/2021
Camera IconThe wreckage of a small aircraft which crashed off City Beach on Saturday. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

The crash was witnessed by dozens of beachgoers taking advantage of one of the hottest days of spring.

“He’d flown north across the coast, he just said to me he was looking for a safe spot to land and the safest spot he could work out was the ocean so that’s where he’s landed,” Insp. Hussey said.

The men swam to the shore, while beachgoers attempted to swim out to help them.

Footage shows one of the men clinging to the aircraft while beachgoers, including children, watch on.

SEE THE VISION IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE

Unbelievably the men have received no injuries from the ordeal.

A small air craft has crashed at City Beach - 13/11/2021
Camera IconA small air craft has crashed at City Beach – 13/11/2021 Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Insp. Hussey commended the efforts of the pilot and those who bravely went to help them amid the choppy conditions.

“I would say ideally you’d land an aircraft on land but he’s done a great job getting it where it is and getting out of the aircraft,” Insp. Hussey said.

“They’re all good, a really good day to buy a Lotto ticket.”

The crash was witnessed by a huge amount of beachgoers, who were out taking advantage of scorching 31 degree temperatures.

It sounded like a giant tin can hitting the water

Beachgoers Amanda Shelsher and Indigo Sorensen were enjoying the late afternoon sun when they saw the plane make its emergency landing on the shore.

They explained they could not believe how close the light aircraft landed and that the pilot and his passenger walked away from the crash virtually unscathed.

“So it just sounded like a giant tin can hitting the water,” Ms Shelsher said.

“It’s amazing it didn’t flip. You’d think it would nosedive and flip and roll but it didn’t. they’re very lucky.”

A small air craft has crashed at City Beach - 13/11/2021
Camera IconA small air craft has crashed at City Beach – 13/11/2021 Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Miss Sorensen said as soon as they saw it coming towards them it crashed.

“Before you knew it, when he turned it was literally seconds, and then you just look and it just dropped and then skimmed across the water for a little bit,” Ms Shelsher said.

The incident sparked a huge emergency response, including several police units, Water Police and Police Air Wing helicopter.

Emergency crews are expected to retrieve the wreckage of the five-seater TA-20 Trinidad aircraft by Saturday evening.

The French-built aircraft is one of two owned by Questair Pty Ltd and was built in 1984, according to CASA records.

More than 2,000 of the aircraft have been built and the type has an excellent safety record.

It is known for its roomy interior and is used extensively for pilot training, including by the military, and is also used for touring.

The air forces of France, Israel and Jordan also use the aircraft for training.

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