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Gyro crash at Rowland Flats


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JUST seconds before his gyroplane plunged to the ground in the Barossa Valley, Rob Scarborough looked down and thought: "This is going to hurt".


Back at the Rowland Flat airstrip from where the ultra-light had just taken off, witness Jarrod Kent thought something much worse: "Surely they are dead". But miraculously the Elizabeth man and his father Dennis walked away with only minor injuries after their near-death experience yesterday – and were eager to return to the skies just hours later.


The flying enthusiasts had reached about 50 feet after taking off just after 10am when their joy flight to Renmark quickly went awry.


"We just couldn't get enough lift, the wind coming off the hills was pushing us down," recalled Dennis, the pilot, when they returned to the scene.


"It was just bad luck.


"I saw the vineyard coming up and thought we had to get to the vacant block."


He desperately banked to the left, and the pair plummeted into a ditch next to a railway track.


Mr Kent, who was flying a model Spitfire at the Barossa Valley aero club, recalls hearing a large thud and seeing the craft's top blade fly off out of a cloud of dust.


"I watched them take off and it would have been just 30 seconds later that it stopped gaining height," he recalled.


"It came around 90 degrees and started dropping, and by that time I knew it was going to go down.


"That's when I rang 000 straight away.


"I figured they would be dead. Then I saw one of them walking around!


"They are placid about it but they are very lucky to be alive."


Rob was later treated for a broken wrist and received three stitches in his head in hospital, while his father escaped with just a cut on his hand.


"Dad said to me, `Can you get out?' And I said, `Can you get off me'?," said Rob, 35, an operational supervisor for Linke Contracting.


"I was his pillow, luckily for him. I'm all right.


"I got a bit of a bang on my head but it didn't knock any sense into me."


As they surveyed the crumpled wreck, his father joked: "We could probably get it up again this afternoon couldn't we?"


He said he had been flying the gyroplane for 17 years and had never had a crash.


"I'll go up again, we just have to start again," he said.


Two men died three years ago when their gyrocopter crashed into a back yard shed in McLaren Vale.


Some people are very lucky, sometimes.


Extracted from the Sunday Mail


Cheers, Doug



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