Pilot escapes island crash
THE pilot of an ultralight aircraft was lucky to escape injury when his aircraft ditched into the ocean on Tuesday morning.
The aircraft ditched into Dent Passage near Hamilton Island after reporting engine failure on approach to the Great Barrier Reef airport about 7.30am.
The pilot and owner of the aircraft was John Clayton from Mackay.
The aircraft ditched into the water around 100 metres shy of the runway.
Hamilton Island's emergency response services were on the scene within moments of the incident and were assisted by the crew of a Fantasea ferry who saw the incident. The aircraft was towed to Hamilton Island where it was lifted from the water.
A Hamilton island spokesperson said the aircraft had its under-carriage ripped off which was probably a fortunate thing given that it slowed the plane down on the water and stopped it from flipping over. Mr Clayton left Mackay at 6.50am.
He regularly flies between Hamilton Island and Mackay. The aircraft is eight years old and was part-built by Mr Clayton.