A plane crashed in the suburb of Palmwoods, Sunshine Coast.
A plane crashed in the suburb of Palmwoods, Sunshine Coast. John McCutcheon

'I remember the silence of no engine': Pilot's horror crash

THE pilot of a light plane that crashed in a quiet Sunshine Coast street has spoken out about his near-death experience.

Simon Gardner was going to Toowoomba for work on Tuesday when he put in his flight plan, fuelled up the plane and took off from the Sunshine Coast Airport just before 9am.

The plane reportedly lost power mid-flight causing it to come down.

"About six minutes into the flight there was a funny noise and a different tone to the engine," he told 7 News.

"I wasn't sure what was going on, but I knew something wasn't right."

 

A plane crashed in the suburb of Palmwoods, Sunshine Coast.
A plane crashed in the suburb of Palmwoods, Sunshine Coast. John McCutcheon

Mr Gardner said he didn't notice anything awry after looking at the instruments, but made a turn to go back to the airport.

He sent out a Mayday to the airport's tower and alerted them to a partial engine failure before his "training instincts" kicked in, trying different fuel tanks and other measures.

"I found I had partial power at a low power setting," Mr Gardner said.

"I tried to keep it there and get back to the field or somewhere where I could land, but I obviously only made it another 10 seconds and it cut completely.

 

Simon Gardner's light plane crashed near a Palmwoods home on Monday.
Simon Gardner's light plane crashed near a Palmwoods home on Monday. 7 News Sunshine Coast

"I remember the silence of no engine and looking around with not many options."

Trying to avoid injuring anyone or damaging property, Mr Gardner flew over houses and crashed into trees on Picca Place.

A shaken Mr Gardner then removed himself from the plane and laid on the wing until emergency services arrived.

He is now suffering a fractured vertebrae and heavy bruising.

The plane had recently been rebuilt and had a new engine, but Mr Gardner said he may have been better served by having a plane with an extra engine.

"I wish I had got a twin engine plane," he said.

"I'm just glad no one else was injured."

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is gathering information to determine if an investigation will be conducted.



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