Strong winds cause plane to crash in Chilliwack
Four people walked away from a minor plane crash at the Chilliwack Airport shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday.
The pilot of the Cessna 180 taildragger plane was travelling westbound when it touched down on the tarmac, but was then suddenly moved by a strong wind, pushing it into a ditch of shallow water.
Chilliwack resident Chris Gadsden was travelled eastbound on Highway 1 towards Agassiz when he saw it all happen. He pulled over and called 911.
"As soon as he (the pilot) touched down, I saw him turn sideways and go right into the ditch," says Gadsden.
The plane did not roll at all, instead the gust of wind rotated it around and pushed it off of the runway.
When the plane landed upright in the slough, Gadsden saw a big splash. Soon afterwards, he saw people emerge from the slough.
"It was fairly quickly when I saw two people climb out of the ditch, and then a little while later I saw the other two people climb out," he says.
One of them was pilot, Jonathan Griffen.
"A bit of gust turned the wheel and unfortunately the ditch was here. If it was the field I would have just rolled it back on (to the tarmac)," says Griffen.
The pilot and his three passengers all escaped the plane without any major injuries.
Taildragger planes are different than other planes in that their centre of gravity is behind the main gear of the plane. This results in some instability on the ground, during takeoff, and while landing.
A flatbed truck with a small crane on the back later lifted the plane out of the ditch that same day.