Miraculous escape for pilot as crosswind causes plane to flip over and crash while landing

A light aircraft crashed at Beccles Airfield. Photo: Paul Cossey

A light aircraft crashed at Beccles Airfield. Photo: Paul Cossey - Credit: Archant

A lone pilot had a lucky escape after an unexpected crosswind caused the plane to flip over and crash as it tried to land on a runway.

A light aircraft crashed at Beccles Airfield. Photo: Paul Cossey

A light aircraft crashed at Beccles Airfield. Photo: Paul Cossey - Credit: Archant

Emergency services were called to Beccles Airfield in Ellough just after 1pm on Saturday following reports a light aircraft had crashed.

The pilot of the Piper PA-18 Super Cub was the only person onboard and miraculously escaped unharmed.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said it is believed the plane was caught in a crosswind as it was coming down to land.

This caused the propeller to get caught in the grass, which flipped the plane as it landed.

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The spokesman added: “It landed badly, causing extensive damage to the undercarriage.”

Aviation enthusiast Paul Cossey, from Beccles, heard about the crash when listening to his radio scanner at home.

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He said: “All they said was there had been an incident – which means it could have been anything.

The 50-year-old explained such a message could indicate a serious crash and burning wreckage or something as minor as a plane stuck on the grass.

Mr Cossey added: “You don’t know what to expect.

“Me and my brother rushed up to the airfield to see what had happened and just saw all the blue lights.

“Then we saw the plane lying on its back.

Mr Cossey said his initial concern was for the safety of those involved but soon learned the pilot had escaped unscathed.

He added: “When we got there emergency services were monitoring the situation and firefighters were hosing down fuel from the runway.

“We watched as they righted the aircraft and towed it away.”

Mr Cossey praised the efforts of the emergency services, who managed to quickly clear the scene and reopen the runway.

He said: “Everything was done safely as it should be – it was cleared by 3pm so the runway was closed for no more than two hours.

“In my memory that’s the first time this has happened at Beccles – it is such a rare occurrence for this airfield.

“That’s flying for you.”

The incident is currently being investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB).

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