Pilot praised for expertise as plane crashes into sea in Gran Canaria
Holidaymakers on Gran Canaria were stunned to see a plane floating in the sea after two men survived what could have been a fatal crash.
Stunning aerial footage from the emergency services shows the light aircraft bobbing about on the waves following the spectacular accident in Moya.
The crash has been put down to an engine failure, with the pilot being praised for his heroic actions in diverting the stricken aircraft away from the built-up area adjacent to the beach. He circled for at least six minutes before touching down in the sea in El Altillo.
Spanish newspapers say the two men hugged each other when they realised they were alive because of the pilot’s expertise. Both were able to get out of the plane unaided about one hundred metres from the shore. They were taken to a nearby health centre.
At one stage, air controllers had requested the closure of one of the main motorways on Gran Canaria for an emergency landing.
The two occupants were aged 33 and 25 and are believed to be Spanish.
They had left a local air club in the single engine plane and were intending to head for La Gomera.
All was progressing normally with the flight until they reached Las Palmas when they detected mecha-nical problems whilst flying over cliffs.
Spanish newspaper El Dia says they were about 960 metres above sea level when the engine stalled, the propellor stopped, smoke was seen and the cabin smelt of oil.
The men launched a May Day appeal tor help and changed direction, keeping alongside the coast but losing height all the time.
One surfer who witnessed the incident said: “The pilot made a perfect landing. He passed over us, the propellor had stopped and he landed in the sea next to the natural swimming pools.”
Residents told of their alarm as the stricken plane flew overhead. Fortunately, the plane stayed afloat whilst the men put on their lifejackets and threw themselves into the water where they could eventually stand up.
Firefighters moved the plane along the shoreline to keep it safe before it was removed with a crane.
The Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission has opened an investigation to find out why the engine suffered the breakdown. Sources of the company that owns the plane indicated that it has all the mandatory documentation and that it was technically fine.