'He's coming along': Pilot of small aircraft recovering after crash landing

A homemade ultralight aircraft crashed on an island in Paddy's Pond Sunday, with the pilot taken to hospital with cuts and bruises. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

Longtime pilot Ray Hawco says he was with the man Sunday morning before the crash

Crews cleaned up the wreckage of the crashed plane at Paddy's Pond Monday afternoon. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

The pilot of a small homemade aircraft is recovering Monday after crash landing his plane on an island in Paddy's Pond, on the outskirts of St. John's, and being taken to hospital with cuts and bruises Sunday. 

Crews were cleaning up the wreckage Monday afternoon, with the Transportation Safety Board investigating the cause of the crash.

The male pilot was the sole occupant of the plane at the time. 

Ray Hawco, a pilot with 50 years of experience, has known the man who crashed for about 10 years, and was with him earlier in the day. 

Ray Hawco, a pilot for about 50 years, knew the pilot who crashed and says he is in hospital, recovering. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Hawco said the two were doing some cosmetic work on the man's other plane, then parted ways.

"I went down flying, I went down to St. Mary's Bay to look for salmon. And I was only gone about an hour and a half, and when I got back, I flew over the crash site," said Hawco. 

When he landed his Cessna float plane at Paddy's Pond, emergency crews were already on the scene. 

Rescued by fellow pilots

Police, paramedics, firefighters and a crew from the St. John's International Airport emergency services were called to the crash around 7 p.m. A spokesperson for the airport said the fire chief responded in an advisory capacity. 

"I just saw the wreckage, one of the other pilots on the pond had gone out and gotten him," Hawco said.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

"They happened to be at the pond and had a SeaDoo already moving, so they went out immediately and brought him back on the SeaDoo," Hawco told CBC News. 

He said his fellow pilot is on the mend, and police said his injuries were not life-threatening. 

"He's coming along. He's in hospital, and he's got a few scrapes and bruises and things like this. But that's to be expected when you end up in a plane crash."

Popular planes

Hawco said the type of homemade ultralight aircraft the man crashed shortly after takeoff is quite common at Paddy's Pond. 

"There's quite a few and there's some people who are building aircraft now, so we have a lot of good builders here in this area."

"These guys know what they're doing, they have certain specs they have to follow. They have to be inspected, and that's under the Department of Transport regulations. They're pretty good."  

Hawco said the planes can carry up to 1,252 pounds.