The pilot and passenger of a small plane that crashed in the Wholesale Club parking lot in Nelson at about 9 a.m. Monday were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
“Preliminary findings suggest the plane was attempting to land when a wind gust caused the plane to be drawn away from the runway and coming to rest in the parking lot of 402 Lakeside Drive,” a news release from the Nelson Police Department states.
Michael Normington of Nelson saw it happen.
Walking from the neighbouring gas station across the parking lot toward the Wholesale Club, he said he noticed a plane landing on the runway when he felt a powerful gust of wind.
“The next thing I hear is the engine roar, and the plane just turned sideways and came over this way. The left wing tip hit the fence [between the airport runway and Lakeside Drive].
“Then still going sideways it missed a white Dodge car [in the parking lot], then hit the ground hard. The wheels fell off and then the rest came to a sliding halt.”
Normington said he ran to the plane where the pilot and a passenger were dragging themselves out. An ambulance arrived shortly after.
A news release from Nelson Fire and Rescue said crews worked to stop fuel leaks and used absorbents to stop fuel leaking from the damaged left airplane wing.
Although the store was open, there were few cars in the lot.
“Lucky there were not more cars parked there because he would have gone straight into them,” Normington said.
The incident is under investigation by the Nelson Police Department and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.