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Plane crashes into Ferris wheel

October 2, 2011
A light aircraft crashed into a Ferris wheel trapping two children on the ride and two adults in the mangled wreckage at a festival in eastern Australia.

The Cheetah S200 carrying two men did not topple the Ferris wheel when it hit the top of the frame on the first morning of an annual three-day festival at Old Bar, a coastal village 220 miles north of Sydney.

No one was seriously injured.

Two men and their plane hang from a Ferris wheel while two children sit in a carriage near the top of the ride.

A nine-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were trapped in a carriage at the top of the wheel near the wrecked plane for 90 minutes, police said.Meanwhile, the 52-year-old pilot and his 32-year-old passenger were trapped inside the mangled aircraft more than 30 feet above ground for almost three hours.

A spokesman for New South Wales Rural Fire Service said rescuers used a crane to free the four.He said: ‘Thankfully, everyone was taken down and were able to walk away from it.’The pilot, Paul Cox, said he did not see the Ferris wheel before his plane hit it.

The pilot and his passenger were trapped in the mangled plane for three hours until they were rescued.

A nine-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were trapped in a carriage at the top of the wheel near the wrecked plane for 90 minutes.

‘The next thing I knew, I was stopped inside the Ferris wheel,’ he said. ‘I had no idea for a few minutes and I was just hoping no one got hurt.’

Witnesses said the Ferris wheel was full of children minutes before the crash.However, festival organisers said because of impending rain, only five had dared to take the final ride.

The pilot Paul Cox said he did not see the Ferris wheel before his plane hit the wheel.

‘The kids were fantastic,’ said Brett Campbell, a paramedic at the scene. ‘They were so calm and so well-behaved and very brave.

‘And so were the two gentlemen in the plane. They were just the best patients we could ever hope for, and the best thing about it, no one really had any injuries.’

Fizal Meah, a witness, said one of the children in a carriage below the area of impact was struck by debris and was left distraught but uninjured.

Mr Meah said: ‘Because the rain was stopping and starting, stopping and starting, it was almost empty.’

The crash happened at a country fair at Old Bar Beach near Taree, north of Sydney earlier today. No one was seriously injured.

Local resident Gary Jones said his nine-year-old twin sons were among the last to ride the Ferris wheel before the crash.

He told reporters: ‘It was a hell of a shock.’

Police and air safety investigators were at the scene of the crash today.

The plane had just taken off from a nearby airstrip when it crashed.

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