Holidaymaker buzzed by tourist plane

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A German holidaymaker was walking on the beach on the island of Helgoland, no doubt improving his sun tan. He came within a hair’s breadth of disaster.

Then again perhaps he should not have chosen a spot so close to a small runway. Local paper Bild reported that he was forced to duck down and lie flat as the pilot of a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II tourist plane made a complete mess of his landing, coming in way too low, way too early. The wheels brushed the man’s head.

Rainer Schmidt, the witness who filmed the scene, said he realized that the plane was clearly not going to land properly. “I instantly realized that this one was coming in to land far too low. The others were at least six metres high. It was so close to the man on the beach.”

The plane sustained minor damage as it struck a small fence before landing on the runway.

Juergen Drucker, the 52-year-old pilot apologized profusely to the holidaymaker, adding: “It wasn’t one of my best days in the cockpit.”

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