Two men have survived after their Aeroprakt A-22 crash-landed into a packed soccer field on Sydney’s Northern Beaches on Saturday afternoon.
Amateur football and cricket players were forced to run when the plane, reported to be from a flying school, plunged into the field at Cromer Park before coming to rest metres from goal posts.
NSW Police have confirmed both men suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were separately taken to hospital. Australian Aviation’s Anna Grbas was on the scene to take photos shortly after the incident.
The incident took place at 4:30pm and witnesses said the aircraft came close to colliding with sporting shed.
One, Scott Manning, told Nine, “I ran screaming and he [the pilot] somehow just got over the top of that shed,” he said. “That would have taken out, I’m sure, 12 people.”
Another, Greg Rollins, the senior vice president of the Cromer Cricket Club, told the SMH he and two other players sprinted towards the Aeroprakt A-22 and dragged the passengers out of the cockpit.
“The plane started to smoke and I thought we had to get these guys out,” Rollins said. “The plane looked like it was going to blow up.
“One guy, his face wasn’t good. They hit hard enough to do a lot of damage but they’re alive, that’s the main thing.”
The first victim was a 24-year-old man who was airlifted to Westmead Hospital and is being treated for broken bones. A second, reportedly in his 30s, was treated for back pain and is being checked for spinal injuries as a precaution.
NSW Police said in a statement, “Police remain on scene after a light plane crashed-landed on a soccer field in the Northern Beaches today.
“About 4:30pm (Saturday, 14 November 2020), emergency services attended the soccer fields on Cromer Park, South Creek Road, Cromer after reports a light plane was forced to conduct an emergency landing.
“On arrival, officers found the pilot and his passenger out of the aircraft and suffering non-life-threatening injuries.
“Both were treated at the scene before the pilot was taken by ambulance to Northern Beaches Hospital; his passenger was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital for a suspected broken leg. Inquiries continue.”