Govt pilot dead after light plane crashes into sea near Plover Cove
Fire crews raced to the scene after reports of the crash
An experienced pilot died yesterday when a training aircraft plunged into the sea near Plover Cove in Tai Po, in moderate weather conditions.
The long-serving government officer with the Civil Aviation Department died flying a two- seater Zlin aircraft for reasons that are being investigated by both the department and the police.
A spokesperson for the department said the officer was flying for leisure and was not on duty at the time, and confirmed earlier reports that the plane belonged to the Hong Kong Aviation Club.
“Out of respect for the family of the victim, we have been asked not to disclose the identity of the deceased,” the spokesperson said.
The police later said the pilot was surnamed Cheuk and was aged 59.
Reports of a plane crashing over Tai Po waters were first made by a witness at 2.13pm yesterday, at which point rescue vessels were sent to the scene.
Rescuers pulled the pilot from the plane’s wreckage, which was almost intact and on the seabed some 16 metres below the surface.
He was certified dead at 3.55pm on the way to hospital.
A single wheel and some debris was recovered in the rescue mission. The search for other wreckage is continuing.
Witnesses at the scene reported watching a fleet of rescue vehicles drive through the area.
Two fire trucks, one ambulance and patrol cars, including one mobile command unit, were seen there.
Marine police vessels were also seen scouring the sea.
Nearby resident Jonathan Liu was walking along the reservoir with his partner when he noticed the emergency vehicles and a helicopter racing towards the scene at about 3pm.
“Small planes fly here on weekends, it’s quite common, but I’ve never seen anything like this before,” added Liu, who has lived in the area for three years.
A Facebook user said he witnessed a plane doing aerobatic manoeuvres in the area.
Aircraft accidents are rare in Hong Kong.
In 2003, a government helicopter crashed on a Lantau hillside, killing the pilot and a crew member.
Search for missing plane focuses on Tolo harbour