Miracle survival – ‘Plane was seconds from disaster’

SURREY Avenue residents were seconds from disaster when a crippled light plane flew only metres above roof tops in Georges Hall before an emergency landing at Bankstown Airport on Sunday afternoon, leaving the pilot and passenger shaken but not hurt. SHOCKING footage captured the moment pilot Jake Swanepoel desperately tried to guide his light aircraft over houses in Bankstown after experiencing engine failure shortly before 2pm on Sunday.
The small Cessna plane only just made it over two hangars at Bankstown Airport before smashing down onto the runway and coming to a screeching halt on the grass around 150 metres later.
Resident Danny Mocha said they heard nothing but were in shock when they saw the video footage and just how close the plane had come to the top of their house which is close to the corner of Surry Avenue and Marion Street in Georges Hall.
“It is very scary and you wonder if it could happen again,” he said.
“My neighbour tried to calm me down and give me confidence that it was a one-off incident and probably won’t happen for another 20 years but my kids will still be living here then so of course, I am very concerned.
“They shouldn’t have such high buildings around where planes are coming in; that’s a mistake and this incident could’ve been so much worse.”
Thu Lee has lived in Surrey Avenue for 33 years and said he’d never witnessed anything like this before.
“My wife heard the noise of the plane flying so low over our house but it wasn’t until we saw the video footage that night on TV, that we realised how lucky we were not to have been hit,” he said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before, though, and hope I won’t again.”
NSW Ambulance said there were no injuries.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will carry out an investigation to determine the cause of the crash, with FRNSW crews suspecting mid-air engine failure.