Langley pilot crash-lands near Fraser River

A Langley man recovering in Royal Columbian Hospital has much to be grateful for this holiday season, most of all he’s lucky to be alive.

The 23-year-old pilot crashed his plane Tuesday afternoon – just before 3 p.m. – at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.

It’s still unclear why, but he reportedly lost power to his Cessna and was forced to make an emergency landing.

Relying only on the air under the wings, the lone occupant of the plane approached Pitt Meadows airport from the south, explained assistant Pitt Meadows fire chief Rob Chatton.

Fortunately, the pilot managed to keepthe plane airborne long enough to bring it in for a landing on the southern tip of the airport, Chatton said.

He and other emergency responders were amazed at how the pilot managed to manoeuvre the powerless aircraft down onto the taxi runway, while avoiding three nearby hangars, airport workers in the area, and most importantly the Fraser River.

“It’s just impressive where he put this plane… because there wasn’t many options,” Chatton said, noting the plane could have easily fell short of the airport grounds and landed in the water – only 50 or so feet away. 

“The only other option was the Fraser River, which means he wouldn’t have fared well,” Chatton said.

This was not the standard runway the pilot landed on, he explained. It was a narrow taxi route located between several buildings near the float plane dock.

“That in itself was quite amazing,” he added.

The plane did come in for what Chatton described as a hard landing. While the plane suffered “significant damage” – including a broken tail, half the front end and landing gear ripped off, and extensive damage to one of the wings – so too did the pilot.

He was airlifted out to hospital with what Mounties are describing as non-life threatening injuries.

It’s believed he suffered numerous broken bones – possibly his leg and jaw. As well, he was being treated for multiple facial lacerations. 

“He’s pretty luck, that’s for sure,” said Chatton.

To add to the good news in a bad news story, the fire official credits bystanders with acting fast to move the conscious but badly injured pilot to safety as an estimated 20 gallons of airplane fuel spilled out onto the ground.

Realizing there was a good chance the fuel could ignite, some of the workers nearby dragged the pilot about 50-feet away – to safety – and began administering first aid, while others grabbed fire extinguishers and stood watch to prevent a fire from erupting.

“They recognized there was a serious hazard and got the pilot to safety, then had fire extinguishers at the read in case the fuel leak flashed… They did a fantastic job,” Chatton said.

Once the pilot was stabilized and sent by helicopter to hospital, fire crews then focused their attention on the crash site, laying a thick blanket of foam down to subdue the fumes from the fuel that was puddling on the tarmac.

The cause of the crash will be investigated by the Transportation Safety Board.

Just Posted

Langley City in need of some Terry Fox Run helpers

People can help out on run day or be involved in preparations before then.

Langley rider looks for hometown advantage if she makes World Cup

It won’t be known until Friday if Langley’s L.J. Tidball qualifies for the Longines FEI competition.

Mayoral candidates still scarce in Langley

Only three people are officially in the running – two in the City, one in the Township.

Mother charged in murder of little Aaliyah Rosa in Langley

The mother is in B.C. Provincial Court this afternoon. IHIT won’t release details of how child died.

Fraser Valley Express doubles weekend and holiday bus service

Four new round trips to be added, starting Sept. 4

VIDEO: Mustang Roundup in Langley attracts car lovers from all over

A car show dedicated entirely to one model of Ford drew admirers and collectors to George Preston Recreation Centre.

5 to start your day

Langley woman charged in daughter’s murder, Canada beats Mexico and more

B.C. woman promoting ‘orange glow’ campaign to support firefighters

A Penticton woman is hoping an orange ribbon campaign will catch on throughout B.C.

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program

The deal would acquire the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc

Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms

Evidence found of Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups

Animal crackers break free from their cages

PETA pressures Mondelez International to show animals roaming in their natural habitats

U.S. man admits slaying wife, blames her for daughters’ deaths

A 33-year-old Denver man is facing three first-degree murder charges

Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha as pilgrims conduct hajj rites

More than 2 million pilgrims carry out the final rites of the hajj in Saudi Arabia

VIDEO: Mercedes catches fire after crashing in Surrey garage

It happened in the 12700-block of 67A Avenue around 6:30 p.m.

Most Read