B.C. senior itching to fly again after near-fatal plane crash

The ultralight pilot broke three vertebrae and crawled to safety after crashing his ultralight plane earlier this month.

Kamloops ultralight pilot broke three vertebrae and had to crawl to safety

Cam Villeneuve suffered three broken vertebrae when his plane crashed. (CBC)

A senior in Kamloops, B.C., is sharing his story of survival after he crashed his ultralight airplane earlier this month.

Cam Villeneuve, 73, broke three vertebrae in his back when his Spectrum Beaver ultralight aircraft came down.

"I heard a big clang," he said. "The plane went straight down and I regained control of it and I thought, I'd better land it."

Villeneuve says he tried to touch down on a frozen field near Kamloops, but his plan went awry.

"It went left and it went right, and then the next thing I knew, it just fell right down," he said. 

The plane dropped 15 metres to the ground and crashed, but Villeneuve survived with three broken vertebrae.

"The pain was so intense, I just sat there hollering," he said.

"I'm lucky. I could have had a broken back and no more hope, and I think that a broken back would be worse than dying for me," he said.

This is all that remains of Cam Villeneuve's ultralight after it crashed earlier this month. (Cam Villeneuve)

Villeneuve activated his emergency beacon but then crawled about 150 meters through the snow to a nearby road, so he could alert a passerby. 

Luckily, an off-duty firefighter driving by spotted him lying in the snow.

Despite his ordeal, Villeneuve says he's itching to fix his plane and get back in the air. He has racked up nearly 1,000 hours of flight time, much of it in his Spectrum Beaver.

"You're just like a bird," he said.

With files from Brady Strachan


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