No one seriously injured in small-plane crash in Blenkinsop Valley

Two people walked away with minor injuries from a morning plane crash on Tuesday in a farmer’s field in the Blenkinsop Valley.

The plane, a Cessna 172 belonging to the Victoria Flying Club, was on a pleasure flight when it experienced mechanical difficulty. The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing and the plane flipped over just before 9 a.m.

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“The pilot indicated that an oil leak had obscured the windshield,” said Capt. Charlie Rivers of the Saanich Fire Department.

The plane was seen over St. Margaret’s School, an independent school for girls near Beckwith Park, before its descent.

The plane crashed and overturned at Red Gate Farm, just short of Beckwith Park, which has a playground, children’s water park and playing fields.

When the fire department arrived, it found no smoke or flames. The two occupants had extricated themselves from the damaged single-engine high wing aircraft.

Brent Hoeppner, owner of Red Gate Farm, said the pilot did a great job in avoiding the nearby school and homes. 

The plane’s undercarriage came in contact with irrigation cables strung out for the blueberry plants in the field, ripping out four rows.

The cables served to slow the plane’s landing, but also contributed to flipping it over, seriously damaging the engine in the process.

“Considering that two people walked away from that crash, the rest is all pretty minor stuff,” said Hoeppner.

B.C. Emergency Health Services said it was called to the scene at 8:55 a.m., and two patients were treated for minor injuries and transported to hospital.

Murray Palmer of the Victoria Flying Club, who was at the scene checking out the crash site, said the four-seat Cessna training airplane departed from Victoria International Airport in North Saanich, where the flying club is based.

Greg Matte, general manager of the Victoria Flying Club, said the plane was rented to a fully qualified pilot who is a member of the club.

The club is recovering the plane to determine the cause of the mishap. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has been informed of the crash.

Matte said that out of an abundance of caution, the club’s remaining fleet of 10 aircraft has been grounded.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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