Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ultralight crashes, pilot in hospital

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AN ultralight aircraft crashed in Austin at around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Portage RCMP Cpl. Darcy Pahl said the tiny one-seater descended near the Manitoba Agricultural Museum grounds during the annual Thresherman's Reunion and Stampede. The pilot was sent to hospital in Portage la Prairie with non-life-threatening injuries. No one on the ground was injured.

RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the incident.

Robert Wilson was taking in the event in Austin and witnessed the failed attempt at flight. He said the man took off in a field on the museum grounds near a reunion event where five Rumely tractors were attempting to set a plough-pulling record.

Wilson said the little craft was in the air no more than a minute before it got twisted in headwinds and crashed to the ground.

"He went down like a lead balloon," Wilson of the pilot and his circular wire-framed craft attached to parachutes. Wilson said the craft hit ground at the other end of the field away from spectators. "At least he tried to dump it where there were no people."

Wilson wasn't sure if the takeoff was part of the Thresherman's event. "It was kind of bizarre."

Representatives of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum were not available for comment.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 3, 2010 A5

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