Friday February 8, 2013
Trainee pilot crashes plane near condo, narrowly misses highway
MALACCA: A light plane crashed into the hillside by a condominium block, near here, narrowly missing the busy Alor Gajah-Malacca-Jasin (AMJ) highway.
Trainee pilot P. Derenessrao, 20, escaped with minor injuries after he crash-landed the Piper PA-28 craft near the Cheng Heights condominium at 11.56am yesterday.
The incident occurred some 35 minutes after the pilot, who had been undergoing training at the Malaysian Flying Academy here for the past year, took off from the Batu Berendam International Airport.
He flew the aircraft at a low altitude and was supposed to cross Alor Gajah/Tampin air space before returning to the airport. However, he radioed that he had encountered an engine malfunction midway through the flight.
Eyewitnesses said he narrowly missed the Pulau Gadong traffic light junction in Cheng Mutiara, along the AMJ highway.
Kpl Zameri Nawi, 50, who was manning a nearby police booth, said he heard a thunderous noise and saw the plane ploughing through several trees.
“I radioed my headquarters upon seeing the pilot attempting to escape from the wreckage.”
A cleaner at the condominium, Suhaidah Majati, 40, said the plane’s engine was roaring and the craft was careening towards her.
“I couldn’t run. The pilot nose-dived and landed the craft a stone’s throw from where I was standing,” she said, still shaken.
“The pilot shouted for help and two residents ran out to drag him out of the wreckage,” she said.
State public order and traffic chief Supt Ahmad Adnan Basri said Derenessrao, from Taman ACBE in Bahau, Negri Sembilan, took off on his training flight at 11.15am and radioed his “Mayday” call to the air traffic controller minutes later.
Twenty-six rescuers in four fire engines from the Jalan Kubu and Tangga Batu fire and rescue stations arrived at the site just after noon.
Fire and Rescue Department operations officer Yazid Mohd Tahir said they sprayed foam on the aircraft to prevent it from exploding due to the impact of the crash.
Officials from the flying school and the Civil Aviation Department were at the scene to evaluate the crash.