VIDEO: Floatplane ‘just dropped from the sky and hit the sand bar’ near Campbell River: witness

Pilot uninjured, plane hit sandbar while landing

A floatplane went down in the waters of Discovery Passage near the mouth of the Campbell River on Thursday morning.

The pilot was uninjured but the plane hit a sandbar while it was landing.

Campbell River residents Patti Aspden and Leslie Davidson were taking their morning walk at Dick Murphy Park on Tyee Spit when they saw the Beaver floatplane in the distance.

“We saw the plane in the distance, thought with the direction he was heading he was going to land in the (Campbell) river but, all of a sudden, he just dropped from the sky and hit the sand bar,” Aspden said. “(The plane) jumped about six feet in the air and then landed with a crash. We heard the bang at the (Tyee) spit. He was very lucky not to cartwheel.”

The pilot, Joel Eilersten, 74, of Coal Harbour near Port Hardy, told CTV news that he had made a hard landing from about 20 feet.

“I was just coming in and … I wasn’t paying attention,” he told Gord Kurbis of CTV Vancouver Island.

Coast Guard crews were on scene at around 8:15 a.m. and the plane was towed to the floatplane base at Tyee Spit at around 9 a.m.

The mouth of the Campbell River is shallow where sand bars build up as the outflow meets the strong currents of Discovery Passage.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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