Seems it was a day of near misses. In northern Germany a small plane, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II to be specific, approached the runway to land on the airstrip at Dune, a small island off Heligoland that caters to tourists.
The pilot descended towards the airstrip, but dropped dangerously close to the beach’s white sands adjacent to the landing strip – and also much too close to a sunbather lying face down just below the plane’s landing path.
The Piper’s pilot had miscalculated his altitude narrowly avoiding striking the sunbather by just inches.
“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 realized that this one was coming in to land far too low.
“The others were at least six meters high. It was so close to the man on the beach. The man was very lucky.”
Uwe Kaiser, another sunbather, 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 52 year old pilot, Juergen Drucker, admitted misjudging his approach to the runway, 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 dramatic landing, Drucker was able to patch up his plane and fly home that same evening.
The sunbather, perhaps realizing there are safer places to sunbathe (go figure!), was seen standing up and simply walking off.
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