I got a call at 16:42 that a student pilot had run out of fuel and made an emergency landing near Swartkops River Mouth.

The young lady student pilot had got lost whilst on a solo cross country flight, and run out of fuel whilst being assisted by Port Elizabeth Air Traffic Control to get back to Port Elizabeth Airport.

I was airborne at 16:48 and collected both the paramedic and rescue medic at Livingstone Hospital base.

It took around 5 minutes to find the aircraft, which had landed on a sand bar about 2km inland of the Swartkops River Mouth, near Redhouse village.

The student pilot suffered no injuries which was remarkable considering that she came to a stop within about 20 meters of where she touched down. She only had approximately 30 hours of flying time. She made a near perfect engine-off landing in a difficult area, well done for the emergency landing!

The nose wheel dug into the soft sand, causing the aircraft to come to a sudden stop on it’s nose. The propeller was bent along with the twisted nose wheel.

As the landing site was difficult to access by road, I fetched a SA Police officer in the car park on the eastern side of the river. A statement was taken from the student pilot, and I dropped the police officer back at the car park.

With all aviation accidents, the pilot must not leave the scene of the accident until a police officer has taken a statement from the pilot.

I took the student pilot back to Port Elizabeth Airport and landed back at base at 19:06.

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