Chris De Vere and his decimated pasture at Melawondi that has been eaten out by lawn grubs or army worms.
Chris De Vere and his decimated pasture at Melawondi that has been eaten out by lawn grubs or army worms. Craig Warhurst

Pilot: my plane crashed due to wind, not clipping a fence

LOCAL pilot Chris de Vere is grateful to be alive, and wants to set the record straight on how his plane crashed on the edge of a Melawondi property on Thursday.

Mr de Vere said he couldn't believe the plane's other occupant, despite his own injuries, was able to drag Mr de Vere free of the wreckage.

"The guy that was with me, I was unconscious and he managed to drag me out of it, even with his broken ankles and stuff," he said.

Mr de Vere was released from Gympie Hospital on Thursday night by 9pm, but doctors have ordered a long recovery.

"I'm going to be here for 12 weeks, they tell me," Mr de Vere said.

"I feel like I've been beaten by a giant from one end of my body to the other.

"I've got seat burns right from my chest across my throat, and I've got bits taken off me everywhere."

Emergency services initially thought the Cessna 182B clipped a fence on the landing approach, but Mr de Vere said it was wind shear that caused the crash.

"It's just one of those terrible situations when you're that low and that slow, and as we crossed over the gully that wind shear just dropped us," Mr de Vere said.

"We added power to try and get us to the other side, and I nearly made it."

He said he couldn't remember the moment of impact.

"I didn't have any time to think about it," Mr de Vere said.

"The next thing I knew, there was foliage all around us, that's what we were tangled up in."

While the cockpit was largely intact, the engine - the heaviest part of the plane - caused plenty of damage.

"They told me that the engine was coming back into the cockpit, and that's what I think broke my ankle, the motor coming back through."

He said the accident hasn't put him off flying.

"There's no way I'm not going to [fly], and as soon as I get on my feet again I'll look around for another plane to replace it," Mr de Vere said.

"I've been flying since 1968, and it's part of my life."

He said he was grateful to emergency services and workers at the nearby mill who came to his aid.

"We're fine, we'll get over it," he said.

"The plane's stuffed, we'll get another one, and life goes on."

Gympie Times


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