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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Pilot praised after crash-landing
A pilot who crash-landed his plane in a road on the outskirts of Cardiff has been praised for avoiding a tragedy.

The man narrowly avoided houses and a caravan park to carry out the forced landing on Wentloog Road, Rumney.

"It was remarkable piece of skill, taking ability and bravery," said Simon Robinson, operations manager for the Cardiff Academy flying school.

"The instructor trains for these sort of emergencies but actually doing it takes a lot of courage," he added.

"A major tragedy has been averted. He was flying over a very heavily-populated area when the engine failed but he managed to put the plane down in the safest possible place."

Two men were on board the twin-seated Cessna 150 light aircraft, but neither was seriously injured. Emergency crews were called to the scene shortly after 1230 BST.

The road was closed as a precaution as fuel had leaked from the 30,000 plane, which had a damaged propeller and front wheel.

Mr Robinson said the pilot was forced to glide to the ground after the engine cut out.

"He tried to put it down in a neighbouring field but ended up on the road," he said. " It is amazing that no-one was hurt."

the plane that crashed
The road was closed while the wreckage was cleared

Nearest neighbour building contractor Phillip Lacey, 47, said: "It is quite a sight to see a plane sitting on the road just 100 yards from your house.

"We had a very lucky escape. I couldn't believe my eyes," said the father-of-four.

Licensed radio ham Alan Kingdom, who lives a mile away in Cathcob Close, St Mellons, saw the plane flying low overhead and then picked up the distress signal on his radio scanning equipment.

"I saw it flying quite low, and wondered what it was doing," he said. "Then the voice of the pilot came up on the Civil Aviation Authority distress frequency, saying they were landing on the Wentloog coast road, and that was it.

"They must have been really lucky."

A spokesman for the South and East Wales Ambulance Service said both the pilot and his passenger walked away from the scene, and did not require medical treatment.

It is understood that the plane had taken off from Cardiff International Airport earlier in the day.

The aircraft was recovered from the scene by 1600 BST. An investigation into the cause of the crash is being carried out.

A spokeswoman for Air Traffic Control, which monitors air travel in the UK, said a May Day call was received from the pilot minutes before the aircraft came down.

"The pilot sent out a May Day signal around 1230 BST, saying there were engine problems and that they were 20 miles north east of Cardiff," she said.


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