Acrobatic Plane Crashes Into Busy New Zealand Park, Killing Two
The accident happened at around 10:45 a.m. local time when the Aerostar Yak 52TW aircraft went down in a park in the town of Fielding, which is located in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region of New Zealand’s North Island. There were two people on board.
Witnesses said the small aircraft, which is often used as an acrobatic training plane, was making unusually loud noises before it crashed. The pilot reportedly struggled to keep the aircraft under control, turning and spinning the plane before it plummeted down nose-first.
The violent crash also caused an explosion and fire, destroying the aircraft and leaving only mangled metal behind.
The identities of those killed were not immediately released, but Inspector Mark Harrison said the victims were “well known” in the Manawatu area. They had taken off just 25 minutes prior to the accident from Taonui Aerodrome near Feilding.
“The park borders a river and residential houses, and has a children’s playground, so it is extremely popular with the local community,” Harrison said. “There were a large number of people in the park at the time and it is extremely fortunate that no-one on the ground was hurt.”
The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) will investigate the cause of the accident. “CAA Safety Investigators Al Moselen and Steve Walker are travelling to the scene from Auckland,” CAA spokeswoman Emma Peel said in a statement.
Earlier this month, on January 7, eleven people were killed when a hot air balloon crashed near the town of Carterton on the North Island of New Zealand, making it the second deadliest accident of its kind in history. It happened when the hot air balloon hit wires on a power line, causing the basket to catch fire before plummeting to the ground.