By Toby Crockford

A small plane has crashed in a paddock in Logan before hitting trees and bursting into flames, leaving the pilot in critical condition.

The pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, freed himself from the wreckage but was lying next to it when it began to smoulder. Bystanders ran in and dragged him away as the plane went up in flames.

Emergency services were called to the scene near the junction of Spring Mountain Drive and Tully Connection Road in Greenbank, about 25 kilometres south of Brisbane, just after 2.30pm on Friday.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the 24-year-old male pilot was pulled from the wreckage and had suffered chest, abdominal and head injuries, as well as broken bones.

Specialist paramedics were treating him at the scene and a rescue helicopter arrived to take him to hospital.

The pilot was flown to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in a critical but stable condition by the Rescue 500 helicopter.

QAS senior operations supervisor Mark Nugent said several specialist paramedic units responded to the incident, but bystanders played a crucial role.

“Bystanders were on scene prior to emergency services and those bystanders were very courageous in their actions, they did render assistance to the pilot of this aircraft,” he said.

“He was lying beside the aircraft and it was smouldering at that stage, they took the courageous and brave action of removing him from that location and then the aircraft was seen to be on fire.”

Two fire crews extinguished the flames within 15 minutes of arriving at the scene, and the aircraft was described as “significantly damaged”.

Police said the plane took off from NSW and had been bound for Archerfield Airport in Brisbane’s south. Preliminary information suggests the plane suffered engine difficulties before crashing.

According to Civil Aviation Safety Authority records, the aircraft involved is a Morane-Saulnier MS.893A and was manufactured and first registered in 1969.

Police forensic crash unit investigators were examining the scene on Friday and a team from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were expected to reach the scene on Saturday.