Pilot
Pilot

Duo kicked out plane’s doors before it plunged into ocean

TWO men who survived a plane crash off the coast of Fraser Island have been flown back to Hervey Bay.

Veteran pilot Gerry Geltch was one of the two men on board the plane.

In a strange turn of events, paramedics were forced to swim to the wreckage of the plane, which landed in the ocean around 150 metres from the Happy Valley Ambulance base.

The wreckage of the plane that crashed into waters of Fraser Island. Picture: 7 News
The wreckage of the plane that crashed into waters of Fraser Island. Picture: 7 News

Mr Geltch told Seven News they kept their cool, kicking the doors down to escape the wreckage.

"With an exit out of the water, it's very difficult to exit out of the aircraft," Geltch said.

"We just kicked the doors open as the aeroplane was going down."

Mr Geltch told Seven News he had been training a new pilot just before the crash.

"Of course they need an awful lot of training for beach operations and we were halfway through our training and we were doing a few emergency procedures and on one of the circuits coming into land we lost rudder control," he said.

Pilot Gerry Geltch and a training pilot escaped from a plane crash off Fraser Island yesterday. Picture: Supplied
Pilot Gerry Geltch and a training pilot escaped from a plane crash off Fraser Island yesterday. Picture: Supplied

"So then we just went into what we're trained for in emergency procedures and we kept the aircraft under control, to a point where unfortunately we couldn't get to the shore and we had to land in the water.

"You just go into training mode of what you've been trained to do and emergency procedures and you do it."

According to Queensland Ambulance Service Senior Operations Supervisor Martin Kelly, paramedics were alerted to the plane crash only moments before they swam to the wreckage to render assistance.

"(The crew) heard a radio message and looked up and actually saw the plane in the water in front of them," Supervisor Kelly said.

"They (paramedics) proceeded down to the waterfront … There were two men there, one had a life jacket on and one of our paramedics went out to him whilst the pilot used a boogie board to get back in safely to the shore. Our officers assisted the other person, who had a deep laceration to the forehead, back to the shore."

 

One of the crash survivors arriving ashore on Fraser Island. Facebook: Fifty shades of Fraser Island
One of the crash survivors arriving ashore on Fraser Island. Facebook: Fifty shades of Fraser Island

 

The pair was treated at the Happy Valley Ambulance station before they were taken to the Hervey Bay Hospital via rescue helicopter.

Queensland Police Inspector for Wide Bay and Burnett district, Tony Clowes, said the men were both employees for the light aircraft company.

He said the pair were fortunate to have escaped with minimal injury.

"They have both safely been recovered from the aircraft and that aircraft is now in the sea bed," Insp Clowes said.

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