Experimental airship crash-lands near Brantford Airport
Published Friday, August 29, 2014 10:35AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 29, 2014 6:24PM EDT
Two people were seriously injured Friday morning when an experimental aircraft crashed in a tobacco field near the Brantford Municipal Airport.
They were inside a unique piece of aircraft – a gas-solar hybrid plane owned by Toronto-based Solar Ship Inc.
The crash occurred around 7:30 a.m. in a tobacco field west of the airport, not far from Colborne Street West.
Witnesses describe the plane’s descent as slow to the point they thought it was about to land safely at the airport, rather than crash in the field.
An air ambulance was called to the scene, but later waved off.
However, the two people inside the plane suffered injuries described as serious – although not life-threatening – and were taken to a Hamilton hospital for treatment.
In a statement posted on its website, Solar Ship Inc. identified the two victims as pilots Mark Taylor and Mark Marshall.
“While Solar Ship has taken every precaution to incrementally and safely expand the flight envelope, aerospace research and development carries inherent risks,” the statement said.
“Today’s incident occurred following a week of flawless test flights. We look forward to our pilots’ recovery, learning from this incident, and continuing with our test program.”
The two men were conducting a test flight at the time of the crash, the company said.
Roy Easton, who owns the property where the plane went down, saw the crash firsthand.
He first saw the aircraft about half an hour earlier, when it successfully landed at the airport.
“It was pretty quiet. You could hear the hum of the motor,” he told CTV News.
When the unusual plane took off for a second run, Easton grabbed his camera and began snapping photos – continuing to capture them as it crash-landed.
The Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into Friday’s crash.
All flights in and out of Brantford’s airport were grounded for several hours Friday.