Pair Survive Plane Crash-Lands Off Gran Canaria
These are images showing the pilot of a light aircraft jumping into the sea after crash landing just off the Canary Islands.
The incident took place in the natural pools of the beach of El Altillo, in the municipality of Moya, on the island of Gran Canaria, in the south-western Spanish region of the Canary Islands.
According to the emergency services, the unnamed pilot issued an alert warning that the aircraft was suffering from problems in one of the engines and that he was going to perform an emergency landing.
The pilot and co-pilot, whose name was not revealed, were reportedly part of a flying school and were practising in the area.
They noticed there was smoke in the cabin and called the control tower of the airport.
Workers from Aena, the company in charge of flights in Spain, asked the Civil Guard to close a nearby road so that they could land there. But after gliding for three minutes the pilots were not able to land on the road. There had not been time to close it off to traffic, so they were forced to land in the water instead.
Witnesses in the area said that one of the pilots jumped into the sea before the plane hit the water.
Javier Henriquez Cutillas, 25, who works in sports events, was at the scene during the accident and he filmed a pilot jumping into the water after the aircraft crash landed.
He told Central European News (CEN): “I was having a coffee in my house looking out of the window which is near El Altillo beach, when I saw an aircraft flying very low.
“According to surfers in the area, the aircraft had tried to land in the water twice but as there were people on the beach surfing there they failed. Then they decided to land in the sea, in the pools of El Altillo, around 30 metres from the coast.”
He added: “They were Spanish, and they were the copilot and the pilot, who was teaching the other man. I saw the plane crashing into the water. I went out of my house barefoot and was the second person to arrive in the area and I was able to record how the pilot jumped from the aircraft.
“They started to swim to the coast and they were in shock, they were helped by neighbours who went to the place and myself and a surfer called Marco Martin jumped into the sea to pick up all their belongings.”
According to a rescuer who was in the area, “Thanks to the skills of the pilot we are not mourning a death.”
The emergency services activated a rescue operation with firefighters and traffic officers who went to the scene of the accident.
The two pilots reportedly claimed to be in good health but they were taken to a health clinic for a check-up.
Cutillas added: “The most beautiful part was when they hugged shortly after getting out of the water, when they knew they were safe.”