Two men escaped serious injury after their gyrocopter plunged into the sea on the harbour side of Matakana Island this afternoon.
Both men, cold and wet, were taken to Tauranga’s Sulphur Point boat ramp where one was later taken to hospital by ambulance.
The two men still wet from the accident, shortly before leaving Sulphur Point marina this afternoon.
SunLive spoke to a witness who saw the event unfold around 4pm.
Trish and Grant Lewis were entering the harbour entrance on the launch, Reel Hot, when Trish noticed the gyrocopter flying very low along the seaward side of Matakana Island.
Trish says she thought it must have been going to land on the island but instead “it just overshot it and crashed into the harbour” just inside Matakana Island.
“It just sunk; it went straight down.
“To see two people pop up was… quite amazing.
“I just can’t believe that they’re alive; you see it happen and your instinct is ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to get there it’s people’.”
The couple raced to the scene and arrived at the same time as an inflatable boat.
Trish then put out a call on the VHF marine radio.
“We thought there might have been limbs rather than bodies.
“It just hit the water and there was this massive spray up from the propellers."
The two men, who appeared to be in their mid-fifties were dragged onto the boat – one appeared to have been hurt and had to smash the windscreen to get out, says Trish.
“He looked as though he had taken in a lot of water.”
The two men were taken to the Sulphur Point marina aboard the inflatable boat.
A short time after, in a second air incident, a paraglider crashed at Mount Maunganui.
To read more visit http://sunlive.co.nz/news/27040-crashed-pilot-hospitalised.html