A mountain guide rescued a husband and wife left dangling 100ft when their plane crashed into a zip wire. Peter and Mary Gaddin were on their first flight carrying out an anti-rhino poaching patrol for a game reserve in South Africa when they slammed into the steel cable.
The high wing Bat Hawk aircraft was swinging and rocking in the increasingly strong winds and was hanging just by its propeller.
A rescue from above could not be executed, as the wash from the rotors would dislodge the aircraft, so mountain and rescue officer Rob Thomas decided to reach the couple by travelling down the zip wire.
Rob, 51, joked: “I volunteered as the dope on a rope to try and get them out and spoke to Peter on the radio and told him that I was coming down and just to not panic and stay totally still.
“I had no idea why the plane had not fallen to the ground but when I got there I saw that by a remarkable twist of luck the cable had been hooked under a large nut beneath the propeller.
“I was terrified the movements I was making may dislodge the aircraft because the wind had got up and I was being buffeted about so I just had to wait for the wind to die down to carry on.
“I got the door to the cockpit open and the pilot was nearest me with his wife on the far side and they both had their safety harnesses on and were lying on their backs in rocket launch position.
“I think it is fair to say they were terrified as they has spent many many hours facing upwards as their plane was buffeted by the winds wondering if the next gust could be their very last one.
“It was also very hot with the temperature outside being in the high 30 degrees and they were inside a cockpit and were suffering from dehydration and were obviously very distressed.”
Rob said the pilot asked for his wife to be rescued first – but it was not safe, so she was left dangling while he took them down one-by-one.