Pilots walk away from crash unscathed

TWO pilots have walked away from a plane crash at the Lismore Airport, after their passenger plane overshot the runway and ploughed into the ground.

The Cessna Citation 550 narrowly missed the Bruxner Hwy, coming to stop about 50m short.

A pilot who witnessed the crash said he saw the aircraft taxi down the runway and fail to gain enough speed.

"I was standing at the hanger, at the threshold of the runway, and I saw the Citation taxi out to the runway and then I saw him taxi down the runway to take off," Charles Mollison, a member of the Gympie Aero Club, said.

"About halfway down the runway I could see he wasn't going fast enough to get off the ground and then he was out of my sight.

"The next thing I know there's an ambulance going down the runway."

Mr Mollison said the plane had been at the Lismore Airport for a couple of days.

"He's very lucky, it could have been lots, lots worse," he said.

"The nose wheels have collapsed of course but the soft ground at the end of the runway would have helped stop the aeroplane before it got to the fence."

Another witness, Jess Jervis, said she was driving past the airport when she saw the plane crash.

"I was just driving past and I saw the aeroplane just a bit too close to the road and next minute it's just bouncing along the ground," she said.

"I thought it was just going to go straight out onto the road and end badly but it managed to stop in the paddock.

"It was pretty scary but luckily everyone's alright."

Leearne Noyes, who also witnessed the crash, said the plane just "ploughed and ploughed and ploughed".

"I could see this plane just coming and it was almost like, surreal, we didn't know where it would go, what would happen," she said.

The Australian Safety Transport Bureau (ASTB) has released a statement confirming an investigation will be launched into the incident.

"During the take-off run, the flight crew detected a control issue and rejected the take-off," the statement says.

"The aircraft subsequently veered off the runway.

"No one was injured and the aircraft sustained minor damage.

"As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview the flight crew, obtain an engineering report and gather additional information."

Topics:  bruxner highway cessna

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