Aussie trainee pilot's miraculous escape stuns doctors: 'I've got video'
A trainee pilot who made a miraculous escape after his plane's engine failed mid flight was so lucky to avoid major injury that doctors barely believed him when he managed to get himself to hospital.
Jake Elven was reportedly on just his second flying lesson with his instructor when they were forced to perform a crash landing manoeuvre from some 1,500 feet on Thursday afternoon.
When the engine failed, the duo frantically tried to land the plane near the private Oaks Airfield, west of Sydney, 7News reported.
"We just pretty much fell out of the sky... The last thing I remember is hitting the first tree which ripped the back of the plane and flipped it over," the 27-year-old told the network.
"Went that way for a while... and then woke up upside-down."
Like any good millennial, Jake pulled out his phone after surviving the crash to film the surreal aftermath of the moment. The video shows a somewhat dazed and disoriented Jake with scratches on his face and legs as the mangled wreckage of the plane sits at the base of a tree.
"Second flight in a plane and been in better condition," he jokes in the clip.
The 27-year-old walked away and ultimately drove himself to hospital while his instructor, who is in his 70s and suffered more severe injuries, was driven to hospital separately by his wife who was waiting at the airstrip.
When the trainee pilot arrived at hospital on his own, doctors initially tried to turn him away, ostensibly not believing his story.
"They almost sent me to the psych ward when I told them I just had a plane crash," he told reporters from hospital. "I've got video, I'll show ya," he said he told hospital staff.
"Holy crap, we made it!"
According to a statement from NSW Ambulance, the instructor was treated for facial and hand injuries as well as a concussion, and was later transferred for more treatment in a stable condition.
"On arrival at Campbelltown Hospital, due to the extent of the man's injuries, NSW Ambulance paramedics were alerted and attended to transport the patient to Liverpool Hospital for further treatment," Inspector David Kynaston said.
Video was a 'good story for the pub'
Speaking to 9News from his hospital bed in Sydney's inner west on Saturday morning, Jake said he was still eager to get back in the sky.
Recounting the moment, he recalled thinking "this is going to hurt" as the plane careened towards the trees.
"I pretty much focused on trying to get the plane back to the runway, the best we could. There wasn't really a whole heap of time to sit there and say your prayers. But we weren't high enough and, yeah, we weren't going to make it," he told the Today program.
"I remember holding on and then waking up about 10, 15 minutes later going, 'Holy crap, we made it!'"
Jake clarified that he helped the instructor out of the plane and back to the airstrip before returning to the site of the crash to take the video.
"You know, you can't have a good story if it doesn't have a video to follow. So I popped back over and got a vid and did a quick tour. It's a good story for the pub later," he said.
"But I then decided that I'm too far away from home and I couldn't be bothered getting caught in a hospital an hour and a half away from where I lived. I had plenty of adrenaline left so I jumped in the car and drove to the RPA (Royal Prince Alfred) and couldn't find a car park for ages."
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