Cessna pilot lucky to be alive
When Dan Jacques saw a Cessna flip in Maple Bay Tuesday morning, his instinctive rescue skills as a former navy diver kicked in.
"I didn't know if it was a Salt Spring Air, or Harbour Air plane," Maple Bay Yacht Club's dock master said. " I just saw the splash and the cartwheel."
Jacques sprinted to a club skiff ,then sped to the scene near Paddy's Mile Stone where an unidentified pilot appeared to be in shock, gripping his upside-down plane.
Jacques calmed the soggy but unhurt pilot, then began towing his plane to the yacht club.
An RCMP boat arrived to tug it to the bay's government dock — from where it was eventually barged away for federal investigation into the exact cause of what may be the bay's first plane crash.
Jacques reported seeing the Cessna practising landing and taking off in a safe area.
"He did five perfect ones, and the six one was a little rough," he understated. "He stuffed a sponson (pontoon)."
The airman apparently had taken a training course about getting out of a topsy-turvy plane, Jacques noted of Tuesday's escape by winding a window down.
Still, he reckoned the pilot — believed to be from Victoria and in his 60s — was luckily not injured or killed.
Police had not released the pilot's name, nor any facts about the wreck, as of press time Thursday.
The shaken pilot declined to comment on scene about this ordeal.
Jacques worried there could be a repeat performance of a bay plane crash — or collision with a boat — given the number of daily commercial flights.
"They (planes) should be on the other (Paddy's) said of the bay because boats are coming in and out.
"It gets risky sometimes."
Meanwhile, Jacques aimed to profit from the pilot's narrow miss if he visits this weekend's Maple Bay Yacht Club's Labour Day Regatta.
"I'll be rubbing his head for good luck," he said.