An air cadet from British Columbia has been transported to hospital with minor injuries after his glider crashed into the roof of a convenience store in the Fraser Valley city of Langley.
The incident occurred just before 10 a.m. Sunday about 50 kilometres east of Vancouver, in a residential neighbourhood and near an intersection surrounded by power lines.
Bob Scott, deputy fire chief of Langley City Fire-Rescue, said the building’s flat roof covered an area just 18 metres by 7.5 metres in size.
“We’re not sure if it was luck or skill that got him to set the glider down on the roof,” said Scott, noting the close proximity of the intersection and power lines. “It could have been a considerably different scenario had that glider come in contact with those power lines.”
Scott said firefighters received a call of a plane crash at 9:58 a.m. but while on their way to the scene learned the accident actually involved a glider.
When they arrived at the site, firefighters found the glider intact but its wings damaged and a hole punched through the building’s roof by the front-nose wheel, said Scott.
Firefighters checked the building’s integrity and then rescued the pilot, securing him in a basket and then hoisting him to the ground with the assistance of a ladder truck, he said.
Lisa Pilling of the BC Ambulance Service said the pilot was transported to hospital in good condition, meaning his vital signs were stable and in normal limits and was conscious and comfortable, but she could give few other details because of privacy issues.
Scott said the rescue took about an hour and included four fire department vehicles, 14 firefighters, two ambulances and police.
He said the glider displayed air cadet markings.
Local resident David Bushell didn’t see the accident but said he heard the crash.
“It sounded like a load of lumber falling off a truck,” he said.
When he went to the scene to investigate, Bushell said he could see the pilot moving around and even remove a cover to the glider.
John Cottreau, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board, said the pilot was a cadet and suffered minor injuries.
The agency is gathering information on the accident but won’t attend the scene because it has already been well documented by emergency officials, said Cottreau, who added officials plan to speak to the pilot.
Scott said the Langley Regional Airport is about one kilometre away from the accident scene but he doesn’t recall an instance when firefighters have responded to a glider crash.
“It certainly wasn’t a landing strip,” he said of the convenience store roof. “It was pretty tight.”