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Air crash pilot gratitude

Gyrocopter crash drama in Carrickmore. Photo by Pacemaker.

 
A SCOTTISH man who was the pilot of the gyrocopter which crashed 50 feet into a ravine at an event in Carrickmore on Sunday has thanked the local flying club for their support.

Specialist rescue teams had to use ropes to get to Graham Auld and his passenger after they crashed to the bottom of the deep crevice close to the premises of Carrickmore Flying Club on the Whitebridge Road.

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Mr Auld took to social media this week to express his gratitude to the club for the way in which the frightening incident had been dealt with.

In a message posted on the club’s group Facebook page, he said engine trouble just after take-off had resulted in the crash which happened at around 3.30pm and during an annual family day at the club’s premises.

Both men were taken to hospital in Belfast for treatment and returned to Scotland following their release on Monday.

Around 500 people were attending the open day and members of the club were at the scene of the crash within minutes.

Fire appliances from Magherafelt and Dungannon and a specialist rescue team were called to the site along with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the PSNI.

The two men were taken to hospital by an Irish Coastguard Helicopter which had been attending the event along with a PSNI Helicopter.

The thick undergrowth at the site increased the difficulty of the rescue which was also attended by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

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A spokesperson for the NIFRS said that the incident had been dealt with by 6.40pm.

 
“On arrival, crews found that the aircraft had crashed down a 50ft ravine with both male pilots trapped,” a spokesperson for the NIFRS said.

“Crews from Magherafelt and Dungannon worked closely with paramedics to extricate and stabilise the pilots whilst awaiting the arrival of our Specialist Rope Rescue team from Belfast, as they would play a vital role in getting everyone back up and out of the ravine.

“Irish Coast Guard and PSNI helicopter removed both pilots to Musgrave area Hospital for treatment.”

Flying enthusiasts from throughout Tyrone and the north, as well as the Republic and Scotland, attended the event.

One local flying enthusiast who attended the event said the skills of the pilot Mr Auld had undoubtedly ‘saved the lives’ of the him and his passenger.

“As pilots we are instructed on how to crash land in the event of engine failure. The way in which Mr Auld was able to stay calm and crash land the gyrocopter definitely saved his life,” they said.

“If he had crashed straight into the ravine without managing to break the descent then there’s no doubt that the two of them would have been killed.”

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