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Plane catches fire after emergency landing

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A privately-owned aircraft made an emergency landing, then caught fire, shortly after taking off Friday from a private airstrip in Morson Township.

The single-engine Piper Cherokee plane was owned by a U.S. resident, who was the pilot. He and the other person on board managed to exit the plane safely after landing.

The pilot suffered only minor facial injuries in the accident, police said.

Vic Gerden, regional manager for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the pilot’s decision to make an emergency landing was not based on mechanical error, nor did it appear to be an overly windy day.

“It appeared to the pilot the aircraft would not clear the obstructions [such as trees and hydro lines] at the end of the runway,” Gerden said.

“And, therefore, he aborted the takeoff and was not able to stop without doing damage to the aircraft,” he added.

Smoke, then fire, appeared just minutes after the plane came to rest past the end of the runway.

Although initial reports said the plane was “engulfed” by flames, Gerden said the pilot’s conversation with a TSB investigator indicated the fire wasn’t that extensive.

“The owner had a couple of fire extinguishers in the aircraft and contained the fire to some extent,” he noted. “He applied one extinguisher and required another.

“My understanding was it hadn’t completely burned,” he added.

Gerden said based on the information provided by the pilot, it was not necessary to send a field team down to investigate the accident.

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