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Small plane crashes in Surrey field, starts fire and injures pilot who’s ‘angry as a hornet’

The pilot is ‘doesn’t really know what went wrong,’ says fellow pilot who watched it happen
Surrey firefighters work to extinguish flames in a field after ultralight plane crashed in the 6900-block of 152 Street in Surrey on Friday, June 2, 2023. (Tom Zillich photo)

A small plane crashed in a Surrey field on Friday (June 2), setting the surrounding grass on fire and injuring the pilot.

A few minutes after 1 p.m. a smoky haze filled the air in the 6900-block of 152 Street, where Jeff Rochon and a friend watched a fellow pilot crash in an area known for ultralights.

“He was testing the aircraft, took off successfully, climbed a few hundred feet and apparently the engine started missing,” Rochon said at the scene.

“So he tried to turn back to the field and came up short, so he landed in a field next door in some high, deep grass. The plane immediately caught fire, I don’t know from what, and he had some difficulty getting out.”

Rochon said the pilot was transported to hospital with burns on his legs after he crashed the “experimental” aircraft. Police say he has serious injuries.

“He’s angry as a hornet, of course, and doesn’t really know what went wrong,” Rochon said.

“I don’t know much about him other than his first name, Julian. I think he works as a longshoreman on the tug boats or something like that.

“I’ve had my own little dustups and I’m sympathetic to the guy, it’s tough to lose that plane,” Rochon added.

The afternoon wind was of concern for Surrey firefighters, who had hoses running from two trucks by 1:20 p.m.

Police had 152 Street blocked off in both directions, snarling traffic in the area.

Rochon said the plane took off from a grassy area and headed east, started a turn and couldn’t make it back to the takeoff area.

“We’ve been flying ultralights out of here since 1979 and it’s been used as an airport since the ’30s so yes, there’s lots of history here,” he noted.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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