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Four, including two Singaporeans, escape plane crash-landing in Malaysia

Four escape plane crash-landing in M'sia

After breaking its tail and having a failed emergency landing, a light aircraft swooped down near a moving taxi before nosediving into the waters.

The fact that all four on board, including two Singaporeans, survived the crash in the waters near Pulau Pangkor in Malaysia on Sunday with minor injuries is "amazing", said aviation consultant Gerry Soejatman.

This could be due to the low speed of the aircraft while preparing to make an emergency landing on the runway, he explained, after reading reports on the crash.

The broken tail would have likely caused some difficulty in controlling the Thailand-registered aircraft, which could explain the decision for an emergency landing, Mr Soejatman said. He added that the passengers on board escaped death possibly because they were correctly strapped to their seats.

The single-propeller aircraft is believed to be a privately-owned Piper 32-type plane.

The mishap happened about 100m away from Teluk Dalam beach in Kampung Tersusun, Pulau Pangkor.

PASSENGERS

The plane, manned by a Singaporean pilot identified as Mr Tan Les Lie, 66, and a Malaysian co-pilot, Mr Khoo Lam Thean, 76, was carrying two passengers, Mr Yip Kin Lung, 51, a Singaporean, and his Chinese wife, Madam Liang Jiao, 27.

They were on the island for a holiday.

The plane, which had taken off the 1km-long Pangkor airstrip at 1.20pm, was headed for Subang Airport, said Police Assistant Commissioner Tengku Mohd Zailan Tengku Ahmad.

Realising that the aircraft's tail had broken on a fence near the runaway during take-off, Mr Tan and Mr Khoo attempted an emergency landing, only to have the plane miss a taxi on the road and then plunge into the water.

The cabby told The Star that his horrified passengers had screamed their lungs out.

According to Mr Mohd Zailan, the aircraft was registered in Thailand under Ever Success Auto.

Witnesses said the propeller blades of the aircraft were still spinning after it landed in the water.

They saw Madam Liang struggling to get out of the plane and swim to safety before a local man dived in to help rescue the victims, Bernama reported.

Mr Tan reportedly hurt his lower lip while Mr Khoo injured his left hand and right leg.

Mr Yip and Madam Liang hurt their shoulders and backs.

Mr Mohd Zailan told Malaysian papers that all four victims had no major injuries but were taken to Pulau Pangkor Health Clinic for check-ups.

A fire engine was used to drag the aircraft wreckage to shore. The case has been handed over to the Civil Aviation Department, said Mr Mohd Zailan.

- Additional reporting by Foo Jie Ying

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