A Cessna 172 lies in Mill Creek at Kelowna International Airport after a student pilot lost control of the small plane Friday morning while practising takeoffs and landings.
The unidentified man, believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, lost control of his Cessna 172 at 11:25 a.m. while practising touch-and-go takeoffs and landings.
After touching down, the plane skidded eastward off the edge of the runway, coming to rest in a stretch of Mill Creek inside the airport perimeter.
"The pilot suffered minor injuries and was taken to Kelowna General Hospital for treatment," said airport manager Sam Samaddar.
Firefighters on the scene said the pilot was able to get himself out of the craft unaided, and was sitting nearby with his head in his hands when they arrived.
Student pilots regularly engage in such training operations at the airport. Minor mishaps such as the one that occurred Friday happen once or twice a year, Samaddar said.
After the accident, the airport's runway was closed for 15 minutes, but no regularly scheduled commercial passenger planes were delayed or diverted as a result.
The plane carried about 130 litres of fuel, and there was initial concern some of it might have spilled into Mill Creek. But Kelowna fire department platoon Capt. Dale Calhoun said testing indicated there was no fuel contamination in the water.
As with all incidents involving aircraft, the Transportation Safety Board was notified, but the agency will not be sending a representative to Kelowna to investigate, Samaddar said.
Friday afternoon, emergency crews were preparing to haul the plane out of the creek. It is owned by Carson Air, which operates a flight training school at the airport.