Emergency services praised after light aircraft crashes on runway

The Scene at Causeway Airfield at Aghadowey on Saturday afternoon. Pic Matt Steele/McAuley Multimedia
The Scene at Causeway Airfield at Aghadowey on Saturday afternoon. Pic Matt Steele/McAuley Multimedia
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The emergency services have been praised for their swift response after a light aircraft crashed on a runway at Causeway Airfield south of Coleraine this afternoon.

The two pilots onboard the AX3 Microlight aircraft have now been taken to hospital for treatment to injuries that are not believed to life threatening.

Fire & Rescue Service Group Commander Keith Black said that they were called to the scene at around 2.45pm on Saturday afternoon.

He said four pumps - two from Ballymoney, one from Coleraine and one from Kilrea - were tasked to the airfield at Aghadowey.

“When we got there Ambulance was already in attendance,” Mr Black said.

“We assisted them with one casualty already out of the aircraft and we had to use cutting equipment to help remove the pilot from the aircraft.”

Mark Holmes, Chief Instructor at Causeway Airfield, said that an air ambulance also arrived but was diverted to another call out.

He said both the men in the aircraft were qualified pilots, with one sustaining a broken ankle and thumb, and the other a broken arm. “They will be back flying again,” he said.

Mr Holmes added: “After the crash we got there very quickly and assessed that we needed to call the emergency services. They came and they pulled together very well.”

However he said that the soft nature of the grass meant that although the ambulances could get to the pilots on the runway, the heavy fire vehicles couldn’t. Instead they were taken there and back via alternative transport.

Mr Holmes said that this was something they would definitely look at in light of the incident. “That’s something we can learn from and improve,” he said.

He also said conditions at the time were gusty at the time of the incident.