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Officer lands burning plane

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A SENIOR Tasmanian police officer is lucky to be alive after suffering severe burns while trying to land a plane as a fire roared inside.

Recreation­al pilot Inspector Darren Hopkins, 51, was behind the controls of the plane when a fire started, his colleague Commander Brett Smith said yesterday.

Insp Hopkins landed the plane in a field before neighbours came to his aid and emergency services put out the fire. “We believe at a certain stage there was a fire inside the aircraft and Darren was able to land the plan and exit,” Cmdr Smith said.

“It could have very well been much worse. Darren is, from what we can see, he is very, very lucky to be alive.”

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