From sky to sand

Somerset West resident Jackson Frost, who was en-route to a camping trip nearby with friends, spotted the Thunder Mustang lying on the beach at Kogel Bay, and headed down for a closer look and to take this photograph of the unusual sight. Pictured next to the plane is friend Daniel Clark.

The soft white sands of Kogel Bay beach provided a welcome impromptu runway for Johannesburg pilot Pierre Gouws, when the Thunder Mustang he was flying experienced engine failure last Thursday afternoon, forcing him to make an emergency landing near the end of the beach, with the undercarriage up.

Bolander spoke to Pierre afterwards: “I was visiting the Cape, and took out the plane from the Stellenbosch Airfield for a scenic flight. He was with Johan Basson, who is also a pilot, and whose brothers Altus and Riaan own the Thunder Mustang.

The aircraft, which is a replica of the World War II P-51 Mustang, indicated signs of engine failure when they were nearing the end of beach, but Pierre was able to pull off a soft, and very scenic, landing.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Gordon’s Bay duty crew were activated to respond, following reports of the emergency landing on the beach, and the SA Police Services were also in attendance.

By the time they arrived, Pierre and Johan had already departed the scene by private transport to seek medical assistance for reportedly minor injuries, and the aircraft was left on the beach, between the high water and low water mark.

The Gordon’s Bay Med Security ambulance services and Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services also arrived, and at the request of Stellenbosch airfield officials who were on the scene, the aircraft was pulled to above the high water mark, and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials arrived later to begin investigations into the emergency landing.

The aircraft was subsequently moved from the scene.