Two people escaped without injury when the ultralight aircraft they were travelling in made an emergency landing into the waters off of Crescent Beach Sunday afternoon.
Police received several reports alerting them to the incident at around 2:15 p.m., and accessed the crash scene from the Christopherson Steps at the west tip of 24 Avenue.
It’s unclear exactly what caused the ultralight to go down.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann said the pilot – a 47-year-old Surrey resident – simply told police the engines quit.
“But why that happened, we’re not certain,” Schumann said, noting impairment and criminal negligence were both ruled out as possible factors.
Schumann said he wouldn’t classify the incident as a crash.
“Sounds like he landed the plane in just a couple feet of water and just at the very end, it tipped over,” he said. “They were over the water already, so he brought it a safe distance to shore so they wouldn’t have far to go.
“It sounds like he landed it nicely in the water, as nice as it could be.”
One witness told Black Press the aircraft was “flying real low and not very fast” just prior to the landing.
“The right wing just caught the water and… flipped over,” said Chris Wright, adding he overheard the pilot comment that he’d lost power.
The female passenger – a 40-year-old Port Coquitlam resident – was reportedly out on her first training flight. Wright described a man who appeared to be her boyfriend, who arrived at the scene not immediately knowing if she was OK, as “quite distraught.”
Both the passenger and the pilot were checked out by paramedics and released at the scene.
Firefighters attending were initially directed by a caller to the wrong area – the base of 1,001 Steps, eight blocks south over rocky beachfront terrain.
While a police news release issued Sunday stated that both Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre and Transport Canada were investigating the incident, Schumann said Monday afternoon that is not the case, and the file has been closed.
– with files from Boaz Joseph