A light aircraft plummeted into the sea on a Pembrokeshire beach yesterday afternoon, leaving the pilot in hospital.
Lifeguards helped the pilot out of the aircraft which was nose-first in the water at Whitesands Bay in St David. He was suffering from shock and a head injury and was taken to Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest.
Eyewitnesses said that they’d been told a ‘loss of power had caused the crash,’ the BBC reported. The aircraft was a Piper Cherokee and had been in the air for about 20 minutes after leaving Haverfordwest Airport approximately 18 miles away.
A digger was used to remove the aircraft from the water in a rescue operation headed up by The Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
RNLI lifeguard Luke Evans, 23, was first on the scene, along with his colleagues. He said: “I looked over and saw that the plane was only five metres from the water so it was obvious what was happening. We were the first responders and ran down to the scene with our trauma bag.
“The plane was sitting in very shallow water, and the wheel had come off, but the shell was intact. The pilot was badly shaken and had some facial and head injuries, but was still conscious and able to communicate.
“The plane made quite a splash when it came down but luckily it was pretty quiet on the beach and in the water, so there were no injuries to anyone else.”
Sophie Williams, a cafe worker at Whitesands Beach, told the BBC: “He is very lucky to be alive. If he had gone a couple of hundred yards further he would have smashed into the cliffs.
“At any other time of this summer the beach would have been packed – it’s lucky the school holidays are over and there were not more people in the water.
“The first people who got to him were two walkers. He told them he had suffered engine failure.”
Photo credits: RNLI/John Williams.