young pilot Adam Reid saw the glider go into a spiral, he
knew disaster was imminent.
Seconds later, the 19-year-old and his mate, Daniel Hunter,
were racing through paddocks to the aircraft after it slammed
into a tree.
The pilot was killed instantly in the crash just after 4pm at
Drury, south of Auckland.
It was the second glider-related death in four hours, after a
light towplane crashed in Canterbury, killing the pilot.
The Auckland tragedy unfolded after the glider was towed
aloft just after 2pm from the Auckland Gliding Club's
airfield on Appleby Rd, Drury.
Mr Reid was at a barbecue at Mr Hunter's house, near the
club, when they saw the glider. "The right wing came over the
left wing and it went into a spiral descent," said Mr Reid.
"As soon as I saw the wing go over I thought 'that's not
supposed to happen'.
It was flying pretty low ... I saw the glider spiral straight
down to the ground."
Mr Reid, who has a private pilot's licence and is working
towards his commercial licence, said that when he first saw
the glider it was flying normally, but "within five seconds"
it was in strife.
The glider which crashed on a rural property in Drury. Photo
/ Natalie Slade The glider which crashed on a rural property
in Drury. Photo / Natalie Slade
Neighbour Ian Pearson was watching cricket on TV.
"I heard an almighty bang, a big bang, a hell of a bang," he
The teenagers, who were swimming with their mates, jumped out
of the pool and sprinted to the crash site.
"It was still, there was no movement," said Mr Reid.
Mr Hunter said the glider's wings were stripped off and stuck
in the tree. They then spotted the fuselage in a dry pond
"I had to go and have a look and see if he (the pilot) was
breathing, but there was nothing," Mr Hunter said. "He was
The teenagers said members of the gliding club gathered at
the crash site. One said the victim was a "reasonably
Auckland Gliding Club spokesman David Hirst said the Civil
Aviation Authority and police were investigating the crash,
"and unfortunately I am under strict instructions not to
reveal any further information".
Inspector Willie Taylor said the pilot was a co-owner of the
He had died on impact as a result of "significant trauma".
The crash shook Mr Reid. "I'm meant to be flying (today), but
I might have to take a day off," he said.
The Canterbury accident happened in Springfield, about 63km
northwest of Christchurch, and killed Christchurch father
Martin Lowen, 55.
He was the sole occupant of a PA-28-236 Dakota aircraft which
launched a glider with two occupants just after midday.
Soon after, the plane crashed and burst into flames.
- additional reporting Lincoln Tan, APNZ