His plane was left a crum­pled mess in a pad­dock af­ter clip­ping pow­er­lines but the pi­lot of this crop duster walked away with just a scratch on his nose …

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SA­MAN­THA HEALY sa­man­tha. healy@ news. com. au

A PI­LOT es­caped with just a scratch on the nose af­ter his crop duster clipped pow­er­lines and crashed near Home Hill yesterday.

It is un­der­stood the 21- year- old man was spray­ing on Kirknie Rd, 30km south­west of Home Hill, when he clipped pow­er­lines, flip­ping the air­craft and ditch­ing into a pad­dock.

A fam­ily mem­ber said he was safe and in good spir­its but de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

Emer­gency crews were called to the prop­erty just be­fore 11am yesterday but it is un­der­stood the in­ci­dent oc­curred about 9.30am.

Po­lice pho­tographed the scene and the Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau ( ATSB) will now in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent.

“Wire- strike is the ma­jor oc­cur­rence in the aerial agri­cul­tural sec­tor ... we are gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion at this stage but will in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent,” an ATSB spokesman said.

The in­ci­dent caused power out­ages to three prop­er­ties, with Er­gon crews work­ing to fix the prob­lem.

“There were pow­er­lines dam­aged, the pole was bro­ken, and the im­pact caused the trans­former to come off the pole,” the spokesman said. “There were also sev­eral dam­aged stay wires, which sup­port the pole in the ground.”

Er­gon is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent in con­junc­tion with the Queens­land Elec­tri­cal Safety Of­fice.

Ear­lier this month, the ATSB pub­licly re­leased a re­port into avi­a­tion in­ci­dents in­volv­ing aerial agri­cul­ture pilots.

The re­port pre­sented re­sults of the 24 re­ported in­ci­dents in­volv­ing aerial agri­cul­ture and fire­fight­ing oper­a­tions be­tween May 2014 and April 2015 to co­in­cide with the agri­cul­ture sea­son in most of Aus­tralia.

ATSB’s re­port­ing and anal­y­sis man­ager Dr Stu­art God­ley said wire- strike was the most preva­lent type of oc­cur­rence, with more than half of the to­tal ac­ci­dents and se­ri­ous in­ci­dents in­volv­ing a wire strike.

Wire- strike is the ma­jor oc­cur­rence in the aerial agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

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