Passengers have spoken about their lucky escape after the seaplane they were travelling on crashed into Sydney Harbour during an aborted take-off.
- Police said one of the passengers suffered a minor injury
- One of the passengers said the pilot was worried the plane would sink
- Authorities are working to hoist the aircraft onto a barge
The impact damaged one of the aircraft’s floats during the attempted flight from Rose Bay just before midday on Thursday.
The plane came to rest near Shark Island with its left wing in the water.
Sydney Seaplanes said the plane appeared to have struck an object in the water or some large wave.
NSW Police said one of the eight passengers had minor injuries and was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics.
The pilot was uninjured in the incident.
Authorities are working to hoist the aircraft onto a barge.
Kate, a passenger who was sitting next to the pilot, said the group thought they had already taken off when the aircraft landed “with a jolt”.
She said the pilot appeared concerned it may sink, unbuckled her seatbelt and told her she had to get out immediately.
“He gave me a little nudge to get out, because obviously you’re still trying to digest what’s just happened,” she said.
“I realised I had to get out quickly so all the other passengers could get out and then move along the edge of the plane to make room for everybody else.”
She said the group was still “a little bit in shock”.
“But we’re also grateful,” she said.
“It could have been worse and it’s been handled well so far.”
Another passenger, Lyndsay, who is a former flight attendant, also praised the pilot and company.
“They’ve been brilliant here, they’ve been great,” Lyndsay said.
“They got us off in a very orderly fashion, very calm.
“We were all a bit shocked obviously … it was a bit of an experience.”
Aaron Shaw, director of Sydney Seaplanes, said the plane appeared to have suffered mostly float-related damage.
It will be taken to a secure facility to be assessed and repaired.
“I don’t think there was any likelihood of injury or anything like that to the passengers,” Mr Shaw said.
“It was an aborted take-off, this sort of thing that happens at airports frequently.
“But of course, operating in Sydney Harbour means that these things can appear more dramatic than they are.”
Mr Shaw said the pilot was “distressed and upset”.
“Pilots, they take pride in not damaging aircraft,” he said.
“He’ll be fine, we’ll make sure that he gets the support he needs.”