Douglas – Two local men who were making a landing in a small aircraft Friday afternoon sustained non-life-threatening injuries when the plane flipped over on a private landing strip at Hyndford (R.R. 2, Douglas).
John Wren, a life-long resident of Hyndford, was landing the plane at his residence when something went wrong and it plane flipped over. He and passenger, Garnet Kallies of R.R. 3, Eganville, sustained injuries in the mishap but fortunately they were not serious and both were released from hospital on the weekend.
Mr. Wren was airlifted from the scene to Ottawa while Mr. Kallies was taken to Renfrew Victoria Hospital (RVH) by land ambulance. Both men are experienced pilots and have been flying for many years.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Mr. Wren told the Leader Monday night. “I don’t remember a whole lot from the incident.”
He and Mr. Kallies had been out enjoying an afternoon flight and were landing at about 2:30 when the mishap occurred.
It wasn’t an everyday call for Renfrew County paramedics when they responded to the crash.
“It is fairly unusual for us,” Mike Nolan, the County of Renfrew director of emergency services and chief paramedic, said on Monday. “Especially since it was at a smaller grass strip runway.”
The chief, who said bystanders had stopped to offer first aid before paramedics arrived, said he was not sure who called 911 after the crash. Paramedics heading to the scene knew a light aircraft had crashed but little else.
“At first we did not know it was on a grass strip runway,” he said.
When arriving on the scene they saw a plane which was resting on its roof. The chief said this was not unexpected considering the nature of the small plane and the possible speed of the landing.
“In light aircraft like that the landing gear is affected and they can flip over,” he said.
“It was a very hard landing,” he noted.
There were bystanders present assisting the occupants and firefighters from Bonnechere Valley, as well as members of the Ontario Provincial Police, who also responded to the scene. Chief Nolan, who was onsite, said paramedics assessed the situation and sent the younger of the two patients to RVH.
“There were two patients, one in their 70s and one in their 80s,” he said. “With the older gentleman, we felt it best he go to the trauma centre in Ottawa.”
The decision was based both on his age and the nature of his injuries, the chief explained.
It was the start of a busy weekend for paramedics with several calls, the chief added. They not only responded to motorcycle accidents in McNab/Braeside and the Calabogie area, but also to an ATV accident in Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan.
“And it all happened at about the same time,” he said.
Mr. Wren has been flying for about 25 years and Mr. Kallies for over three decades.
BV firefighters were working alongside North Algona Wilberforce Township fires extinguishing a large blaze at the Sno-Drifters Waste Site just north of Eganville when the call came in. Chief Darryl Wagner said the department responded with about nine personnel. They secured the tail end of the plane so paramedics could safely provide aid to the two men.
“In my 23 years it was my first airplane crash and hopefully my last,” the chief said. “We were just all relieved both occupants escaped with minor injuries.”
OPP also expressed thanks to those who were first on scene and provided assistance until first responders arrived.