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Engine failure caused aircraft drama

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Communication with the aircraft was lost and the aircraft could no longer be detected on the radar

OUT OF REACH: Policemen and other emergency personnel were unable to reach an aircraft after the pilot had to make an emergency landing on a pan near Magersfontein. Picture: Soraya Crowie

IT IS BELIEVED that the two occupants of the light aircraft involved in Wednesday’s emergency landing just kilometres away from the Kimberley Airport were busy accumulating flying hours.

The two, it is believed, were from the Eagle Air flight school.

According to sources, at approximately 12.34pm the crash alarm was activated which then alerted the airport fire and rescue team. Once radio communication was established with the tower, the PAL 28 aircraft reported engine failure as it was approaching Kimberley Airport.

It is further believed that communication with the aircraft was lost and the aircraft could no longer be detected on the radar.

Emergency response teams were then alerted and a search and rescue operation was activated. However, at the scene the terrain was swampy due to the recent rains and the plane could not be reached.

It was noticed that the aircraft was intact and, according to sources who managed to get close to the aircraft, two occupants were seen standing next to it.

The incident commander then set up an incident command post approximately two to three kilometres from the immediate vicinity of the incident site as it was extremely difficult to access the site.

The assistance of a police helicopter was called to help with the rescue of the two occupants of the aircraft and they were transported to safety at the Kimberley Airport.

They were assessed by medics at the Kimberley Airport and found to have no major injuries.

When contacted yesterday afternoon for comment, Eagle Air stated that they were in a safety meeting.