Plane makes emergency water landing in Darwin Harbour

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Piper Chieftain, similar to the one involved in the accident

An Australian twin-engined Piper Chieftain carrying five passengers safely landed in the waters of Darwin's harbour today. The pilot of the aeroplane, Steve Bolle, experienced some engine trouble shortly after departing from Darwin International Airport. Darwin is the capital of Australia's Northern Territory, situated on the Timor Sea.

It is not yet known what caused the incident.

The aircraft's flight plan took it over water, giving the pilot few opportunities to land the plane on ground. Bolle decided to land in the water, as opposed to the beach, as the firmness of the ground on the latter was not known.

The plane ditched in shallow water in the harbour, and Bolle and his five passengers were able to safely wade to shore.

The Piper Chieftain was en route to Maningrida, located half a thousand kilometres east of Darwin, according to the aeroplane's owner, the Australian information technology company CSG.

"We would like to congratulate the pilot following all emergency landing and evacuation procedures and his very professional handling of the situation," CSG said in a statement.

A few weeks ago, the pilot of an Airbus passenger jet departing from La Guardia in New York City also successfully ditched in water after bird strikes disabled both of the aeroplane's engines.

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