Unusual Visitor

Sent in by reader

Sent in by reader

We’ve taken an unusual step to suit an unusual event and have used a reader’s letter as the follow-up article on Page Five to this Front Page story.

The reason is that we could either depress you with all the negative news flying around, or we could do something light-hearted, covering and event that is certainly not an every-day occurrence.

The light aircraft, with several people onboard, was on its way to the airport in Axarquía, in Vélez-Málaga, when the pilot decided to make an emergency landing, due to lack of fuel, on Salobreña’s beach, between the Peñon and La Caleta.

Such was the lack of fuel that the aircraft had to glide in, according to the Guardia Civil incident report.
As this occurred before Christmas, it is certainly not the latest news, but for many, it will no doubt be news, all the same.

Here, in continuation, is the reader’s letter that gives a first hand account:

Dear Ed,
On Monday 13th December 2010 we decided to go to one of our favourite Chiringuitos on the Salobreña beach. It was a nice sunny day and also the last day of our holiday. Imagine our surprise when we walked through the restaurant for a table on the beach to see a small aeroplane in front of us.

We have seen many sights on the beach before including sunbathers, dog walkers and fishing boats but never an aeroplane. Several people were around the plane including two Guardia Civil officers. One was looking at the pilot’s papers and the other was looking inside the plane; drugs or illegal immigrants come to mind. The pilot was very tall and looked Italian and you wondered how those long legs ever fitted inside the cockpit. However, what was this plane doing there?

The waiters obviously were interested as well and told us that it had landed half an hour before we arrived but could not elaborate any further. So we and several other diners watched and were entertained for the next 1.5 hours. We joked with the waiters that as we were flying back to Gatwick from Málaga that evening, perhaps this would be a more direct flight. “Casa Emilio International Airport”.
Two local police arrived and were in deep discussion with the Guardia Civil, when another man, presumably the co-pilot, appeared carrying a large can of what we assumed to be kerosene. So that was why it was there! The plane had run low on fuel and therefore the beach became an emergency landing strip.

The next episode could only happen in Spain. In the UK a Health & Safety officer would have appeared from nowhere to stop proceedings. But the plane was refilled, the Guardia Civil instructed people to move away, the pilot climbed in, the plane was turned around to face the Salobreña Rock, the engine was started, the co-pilot climbed in and the plane taxied on the sand towards the Rock.

The plane turned around when nearly at the rock, the pilot had obviously decided that the runway was now long enough, the pilot applied the throttle the plane accelerated, the noise of the engine increased, the plane gathered speed and came whizzing past us outside Casa Emilio’s. Everyone was nervous but excited as people waited to see if it would fly; was the runway long enough as a barranco was coming into view. However, further up the beach towards the next chiringuito the plane started to lift off of the ground and started to climb into the sky. The crowd erupted with much cheering and clapping. The plane flew higher and higher and disappeared into the sky.

Regards, Jacky Pritchard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *