The plane came down in a field five kilometres from Abbeyshrule Airfield in Co Longford at around 10am

A pilot miraculously walked away unscathed when his light aircraft burst into flames seconds after being forced into an emergency landing along the Longford-Westmeath border yesterday.

The plane, which burst into flames following the emergency manoeuvre, came down in a field five kilometres from Abbeyshrule Airfield in Co Longford at around 10am

The pilot, multi-time Irish Aerobatic champion Dave Bruton, astonishingly escaped serious injury after it is believed the light aircraft’s engine seized in mid-flight.

Speaking about his ordeal barely 24 hours later, Dave put his lucky escape down to experience and know-how which has seen the Dublin native clock up over 5,000 flying hours over the course of 25 years of unlimited aerobatics.

“This event would have been only possible to survive with the knowledge and expertise of the pilot,” he said.

Images of the smouldering wreckage were the subject of a thorough site examination yesterday as the the Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Unit confirmed an investigation was now underway.

“On Tuesday 20th June 2023, the AAIU was notified of an accident involving a light aircraft that had conducted a forced landing in a field approximately five kilometres southeast of Abbeyshrule Airfield, Co. Longford,” said a Department of Transport spokesperson.

“Four AAIU inspectors deployed to the accident location near Paddinstown Lower Co. Westmeath to commence an Investigation.

“This entailed an initial inspection of the aircraft and a survey of the accident site.”

The spokesperson confirmed a statement had since been taken from the pilot with the remains of the light aircraft now the subject of more rigorous technical inspection at an AAIU facility in Co Meath.

“The Investigation also interviewed the pilot of the aircraft,” added the spokesperson.

“The aircraft wreckage has now been removed from the accident site and has been transported to the AAIU Wreckage Examination Facility in Gormanston, Co. Meath for further detailed examination.

“The Investigation is ongoing, and a final report will be published in due course.”