Friday, September 25, 2009

Pilot's Second Crash?

Rescue team on the crashed plane
"Thank heavens we were saved. It was a miracle that no one was killed."This was the reaction of traumatised and relieved Merebank residents after a SA Airlink twin-engine aircraft crash-landed in their densely-populated suburb adjoining Durban International Airport.It smashed into vacant land, slid across the narrow Sambalpur Road and crashed through the concrete fence into the sports field at Merebank Secondary School, injuring the three crew and a municipal worker in the crashing aircraft's path. All were taken to St Augustine's Hospital.The pilot, Captain Alistair Freeman, who was trapped in the plane for some three hours before being stablisied and freed, sustained multiple injuries, including facial fractures, broken ribs and ankle and a suspected punctured lung. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition and on a ventilator.
Freeman, who at one stage was talking to paramedics, but was then put on a ventilator while still trapped in the plane, was airlifted to hospital by helicopter.The first officer, Sonja Bierman, also sustained multiple injuries, the airline said last night. She has broken both ankles and a hand and has sustained fractures in the pelvic area and chest.Flight attendant, Rodelle Oosthuizen, sustained facial injuries and a fractured spine.Street cleaner Abraham Mthethwa suffered broken legs after being struck and the plane's wing landed on him.A nursing sister at St Augustine's hospital this morning said all the patients were in a stable condition, but Mthethwa was still in a lot of pain. "He will be going to theatre today," she said.

It appears to be second time unlucky for Captain Alistair Freeman, who was critically injured aboard SA Airlink J41 when it ditched into a Merebank school field in Durban yesterday.While this could not be officially confirmed, South African pilots' blogs were last night referring to this as Freeman's second crash in the past few years.

Source: www. int.iol.co.za

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