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Canterbury Recreational Aircraft Club president Doug Anderson said its chief flying instructor, Stewart Bufton, was in the aircraft with a trainee pilot when it crashed.
Anderson said he understood Bufton has a broken leg and arm. He said Bufton has 15 years' flying experience.
“He is a very experienced pilot, working for over 15 years, teaching hundreds of people," Anderson said.
"I’m blown away that no one died. If I saw the plane without knowing the people had survived, I would have thought all would have died.
"The front of the wings stopped any more crushing of the plane, showing the integrity of the aircraft.”
He said the aircraft was a Tecnam p92 Eco Classic.
Senior Constable Kieran Young, who was at the scene, confirmed a trainee pilot and an instructor took off from the Rangiora Airfield earlier today.
“They are lucky to be alive with relatively minor injuries in the grand scheme of things.”
He says it appeared the aircraft's landing gear may have hit powerlines before the plane crashed in a farmer's paddock.
A St John spokesman said both patients were initially treated for serious injuries, and one was flown by helicopter to Christchurch Hospital.Police say both men had a lucky escape.
"The reason for the crash is unknown at this stage but it appears they have been flying at low level and have clipped powerlines and ended up crashing in a farm paddock," said Acting Senior Sergeant Rob Irvine.
The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the incident, he said.
"They are very lucky," Irvine said.
"From what we can see here . . . luckily it looks like a low-speed crash at low-level."Ambulance, fire, and police all attended. MainPower was also at the scene to repair the powerlines.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokeswoman Lyn Crosson said two crews from Oxford and Rangiora were sent to the crash.
A CAA investigator is due at the scene tomorrow.
-Reporting NZ Herald and Star News