On Saturday morning a small plane clipped the roof of the Comox Valley Animal Hospital on Dyke Road, then crash landed in the hospital’s parking lot, hitting one parked car and flipping over onto another car. There were no occupants in either car. The pilot of the plane was conscious when extricated by emergency workers and transported to hospital in Comox.
“He had his legs trapped, so the crews had to cut the aircraft away to pry it apart and get him out,” said Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex. “He is conscious and has been taken to St. Joe’s. Whether he is going to go elsewhere from there, we are not sure yet.”
Veterinarian Dave MacDonald heard the loud impact on the rear of his building and was first on the scene. He explained he walked out the back door and saw the plane on top of staff vehicles.
“I started picking debris off the plane … no one was yelling for help so I didn’t know what I was going to find,” he said.
MacDonald climbed up the side of the plane and found the pilot inside the cockpit.
“I touched his face and he blinked, which was reassuring.”
He added a passerby with emergency rescue skills came to help and the pilot began to tell them his plane had lost power.
MacDonald added while the plane’s propeller came across the flat roof of the animal hospital, there is not substantial damage.
“It poked holes in the roof right through the ceiling …. but there were no clients in the parking lot.”
The 1991 Polish-built Wilga is owned by Comox lawyer Christopher Cameron, who owned the plane since 2013.
Reports indicate Cameron was the pilot, and may have had engine trouble prior to the crash. He was eventually airlifted to Victoria General Hospital where he remains in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit, according to Island Health spokesperson Val Wilson.
Cause of the crash is still under investigation. It was the second plane incident in Courtenay in three days. On Thursday a small plane ran into the fence while taxiing down the runway at the Airpark. There were no injuries reported in that incident.
Saturday’s incident marks the 10th plane-related incident Bardonnex has responded to in his seven-and-a-half years as Courtenay Fire Chief.
–With files from