TWO men were lucky to walk away uninjured from an emergency landing yesterday after their plane became tangled in live power lines in a Cape Clear paddock, flipping the aircraft in the opposite direction before it nose-dived into the ground.
Pilot Arthur Williams, 62, and his friend Richard McDonald, 49, from Western Australia, were travelling from Jamestown, South Australia, to the Avalon Airshow near Geelong when they came across bad weather over Cape Clear just before 1.20pm.
After circling the paddock opposite Cape Clear Primary School in Scarsdale-Pitfield Road, the men deemed it safe to attempt an emergency landing of the single- engine Savannah airplane.
Cape Clear Primary School principal Christian Brown saw the plane circling before it struck trouble.
“The weather wasn’t very nice and it was clear they were trying to make an emergency landing,” Mr Brown said.
“But it all went wrong very quickly when they came in too low and got wound up in the power line.
“I called police and ambulance immediately.”
CFA operations manager Gavin Hope said the men were “very fortunate to be alive.”
“They were very lucky that when they survived the crash they got out without getting electrocuted, because the live power line was still tucked underneath the plane,” Mr Hope said.
“The plane suffered a lot of damage too, yet somehow the cockpit is still relatively intact.”
Mr Hope said the Cape Clear CFA crew were the first on the scene and administered first aid at the nearby primary school.
“Fortunately it wasn’t too serious and the men were both relatively unscathed,” he said.
“Ambulance officers arrived and took over but I think the main concern for the pilot was that his cochlear implant had fallen out and he was a bit shaken.”
The pilot said they didn’t see the power line because a tree blocked their view.
“We were doing the right thing, we had circled the paddock a few times, but unfortunately we missed that power line because of trees hiding the posts,” Mr Williams said.
He said they were heading to an air show to take part in a display of similar small aircraft.