A Victoria-based pilot and a passenger are unhurt after their plane overshot the runway and crashed into the Courtenay River Monday morning.
Pilot Ian Barnes told CTV Vancouver Island there were no mechanical issues with the plane as he came in for landing at the Courtenay Airpark, rather, he came in “a little too fast on the approach for the runway.
“I know the aircraft is really safe; certainly no injuries on either of us. I wish it floated a bit better than it does, but such is where we are.”
Witnesses noted the plane crashed through the chain-link fence before coming to a rest in the river.
“I heard a lot of really loud noise and then a really loud thud … I thought at first it sounded like a boat that exploded,” explained Jacque Scholtz.
“The tail was up, but the body was starting to submerge quite quickly but there was nobody coming out which really worried me.”
Scholtz’s husband Pierre added he heard a rapid acceleration prior to the crash.
Barnes said while he is not a new pilot, “there is always something to learn” in his Diamond DA40 aircraft.
“(I) made the call to pick up and go around because I came in a little bit too fast but I made that decision a little bit too late.”
A crane was brought in to lift the submerged plane out of the water and it will be held at the Airpark until the Transportation Safety Board determines if a further investigation is required.
In May, a plane slid off the runway and crashed into the fence; a few days later a plane en route to the Airpark with mechanical issues crashed into a veterinarian office across the estuary on Comox Road.
— With files from CTV Vancouver Island