Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Water landing for Australia plane


Officials say pilot Steve Bolle did 'a brilliant job'

The pilot of a light aircraft in northern Australia was forced to make an emergency landing in water after suffering engine trouble on take-off.

In a small-scale version of the dramatic landing of an airliner in New York's Hudson River, pilot Steve Bolle guided his plane into Darwin's harbour.

He landed the Piper Chieftain plane in shallow waters after realising he would not make it back to the airport.

Mr Bolle and his five passengers were able to wade safely to shore.

The twin-engine plane was carrying staff from computer technology firm CSG to a remote community in the Northern Territory to carry out maintenance work.

CSG managing director Denis Mackenzie said the pilot reported problems soon after take off.

"He said on take-off they experienced some loss of power in one of the engines and he followed all the procedures and shut the engine down and wasn't able to return to the field so he had to put down on the beach," Mr Mackenzie told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It was actually in about two feet of water so they were lucky."

'Very cool'

He said the passengers were shaken by the incident but had suffered no injuries.

And he praised the actions of his pilot.

"He was very cool about it ... they've certainly trained for these things," Mr McKenzie said.

Capt Chesley Sullenberger: 'I knew immediately it was very bad'

Police spokesman Rob Farmer said it was unclear what had caused the engine troubles but said Mr Bolle "did a remarkable job".

An investigation is now under way.

The incident came hours after the broadcast of an interview with the captain of an airliner who landed safely in the Hudson River last month with 155 people on board.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger told US network CBS's 60 Minutes programme of the "sickening" feeling he experienced when he realised something was wrong.

He said his initial reaction was one of disbelief.

Investigators have now confirmed that birds collided with both of the engines of Flight 1549 shortly before it ditched, on 16 January.

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