Firefighters extinguish the port side engine of an aircraft that caught fire at the airport .
Firefighters extinguish the port side engine of an aircraft that caught fire at the airport . Leigh Jensen

Pilot jumps from burning plane

A PILOT had a brush with danger when he jumped from his burning aircraft, after an engine caught fire on the tarmac at the Coffs Harbour Airport.

Fire crews were called to the private runway, on the western side of the aerodrome, on Saturday at 6.16pm.

They found the portside engine and wing of a 1973 twin engine 414 Cessna alight.

Police say the pilot, a 49-year-old Woolgoolga man, leapt from the cabin after he noticed smoke pouring from the engine.

Following procedure, he immediately switched off the aircraft and controls and ran a safe distance away before calling for help.

A passing ambulance also spotted the unfolding drama and the paramedics used their radio to brief police and firefighters as they raced to Coffs Harbour Airport and the stricken plane.

Roughly an hour earlier, in a private hanger, the pilot had prepped the aircraft, for a flight.

He told police he undertook a pre-flight inspection, where he checked the aircraft’s oil and fuel systems.

The Cessna was then towed to the western runway adjacent to the hangar where the fire occurred.

Firefighters were on the scene in a matter of minutes.

“Foam was used to bring the fire under control, and the flames were extinguished about 10 minutes later,” Coffs Harbour Fire Station captain David Spagnolo said.

An inspection found the engine and wing had been damaged by the fire.

The Australian Safety Transport Bureau has been notified of the incident.


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