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Sunday 18 February 2018

Watch: Plane almost lands on sunbather on German beach

Harriet Alexander

A man stretched out on the sand in northern Germany had a lucky escape when a light aircraft came in to land almost right on top of him.

Video footage obtained by German tabloid newspaper Bild showed the small plane, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II, coming in to land on the airstrip at Dune – a touristic islet off Heligoland.

The pilot descended towards the airstrip, but got increasingly close to the white sands – and the man lying face down beneath him.

"I was watching the planes come into land," said Rainer Schmidt, 52, who shot the video. "I had seen five planes land before this one came in. I instantly realised that this one was coming in to land far too low.

"The others were at least six metres high. It was so close to the man on the beach. The man was very lucky."

Another sunbather, Uwe Kaiser, said: "The man who was almost hit was lying down and he turned over to look after seeing the plane coming and then instantly flung himself down in the sand as it crossed over him. It really was a close shave."

The pilot, Juergen Drucker, 52, admitted that he misjudged the approach – but said that he had not seen the man because he was lying down.

"It was me that was flying and I am really sorry. I have to say, as the pictures show, that it wasn't one of my greatest achievements in the cockpit."

After the bumpy landing, Mr Drucker was able to patch his plane up and fly home the same evening.

The sunbather, however, decided to find a safer place to sunbathe, and was seen standing up and walking off.


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