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John Erickson says there was no time to panic when his plane started to go down near Kisbey, Sask. (Courtesy Carlyle Observer)

The pilot of the small plane that crashed in southeast Saskatchewan with six people aboard says engine failure was the cause.

No one was killed in the Sunday morning crash north of Kisbey, Sask., but flight instructor John Erickson, of Carlyle, Sask., was injured.

He was scheduled for back surgery Monday.

In an interview with CBC News, he said he was flying to Stoughton with one of his students and the student's family when the engine of the Piper Cherokee 6 died.

"No matter how experienced you are, if you have engine fail, you're going down," said Erickson, who obtained his pilot's licence in 1967 and has more than 16,000 hours flying experience.

Erickson said he was hoping to land the crippled plane on Highway 605, but as he got close, there was a semi-tanker on the road and he had to veer away.

The plane struck a hill, then came to rest in a farmer's field.

"You just do what you have to do to get it down. That's all I did. There was nothing fancy about it." Erickson said he was hurt and couldn't move.

An EMS crew arrived and he was taken to hospital in Weyburn.

The other five on board included a Stoughton man who was Erickson's student, the man's wife, his two young daughters and a niece.

The extent of their injuries wasn't known, although relatives said the wife may have fractured vertebrae. Looking back on the crash, Erickson said he reacted as any trained pilot would.

"It doesn't do any good to panic," he said. "I just had to jump into that field."

Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board are looking into the crash, which happened eight kilometres north of the village of Kisbey, which is about 87 kilometres east of Weyburn.