Highlands & Islands

Bird strike caused microlight crash near Mallaig

The pilot of a microlight aircraft was forced to ditch in a loch near Mallaig when he hit a bird during a flight over the north west Highlands.

The details have emerged in a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

The pilot escaped uninjured from the wreckage, but had to swim to the shore following the crash.

The incident happened as he flew from an airfield at Plockton towards Glenforsa on Mull on 24 June.

The pilot was flying at about 1,000ft when he heard a loud bang and temporarily lost control.

Although he managed to regain control there was significant vibration from the engine and he had to switch it off.

The pilot prepared to glide in to land on a field, but when he failed to slow the microlight down sufficiently he aborted the landing.

Seeing no other flat terrain he ditched in a small loch where the aircraft sank.

The pilot freed himself from his harness and then swam to the shore.

The AAIB report said the cause of the crash was a bird strike which damaged the propeller and flying controls.

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