Pilot of hard landing on Comox Lake returns for his plane

Pilot of hard landing on Comox Lake returns for his plane

WATCH: A float plane remained in the water Thursday after crashing into Comox Lake Wednesday night. Kendall Hanson reports.

The 75-year-old pilot of a float plane that made a hard landing on Comox Lake returned on Thursday.

He was at the lake to help figure out how to get the aircraft out of the water.

The Courtenay resident was at the controls Wednesday afternoon when his plane slammed into the water.

As the aircraft approached, witnesses quickly realized something was wrong.

“[It was] quiet, didn’t hear no motors,” said witness Gary Moore. “She was listing to her left a bit and she just hammered down. Heard the first big bang. She popped back up. She hammered down the second time nose tipped. She came back up and then all of a sudden you could see her starting to sink.”

With the plane sinking and flipping over in the water, boaters rushed to help.

They managed to get the pilot out and take him to shore.

“As the day turned out it was a bad day for him but it was a good day,” said Cumberland Fire Chief Craig Windley. “Because he was uninjured and he was checked out by B.C. Ambulance and he was fine.”

There was another concern on Thursday.

Comox Lake is the source of drinking water for 47,000 people in the Comox Valley.

Throughout the day, Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) staff used a drone is helping to see if any fuel is leaking from the aircraft.

“There was no indication of fluids from the plane which is good news,” said Kris La Rose, the Regional District’s senior manager of water and waste water.

Regional District employees were also putting booms out around the downed plane and another one across the outlet of the lake’s reservoir.

“Our interest here is to ensure the drinking water quality is not compromised by any leaking of fluids from the plane, so jet fuel or oil,” said La Rose.

They did manage to tow the float plane across the lake to a waiting crane. It was lifted out shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday.

On Thursday evening, the CVRD said there was no evidence of a fuel spill based on close visual inspections by the fire department, RCMP and CVRD water operators.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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