Tragedy was averted when a successful emergency landing took place on Saturday, October 10 after the pilot of a small aircraft realised the plane’s nose wheel would not lock.
A witness, Michael Papp, said the pilot had managed to slow the plane “to almost walking pace before, dropping the nose onto the deck.”
Airport manager, Ian Baker said the pilot, who was flying over Bombala at the time, notified Air Traffic Control in Melbourne, who then alerted Merimbula airport.
Fire and Rescue services went into action, as the pilot diverted to Merimbula to attempt the emergency landing.
Mr Baker said the plane suffered “substantial damage” to the nose and engine when its propeller hit the tarmac.
The pilot, who had recently purchased the home-built single engine propeller plane from its original owner, and his passenger were “shaken”, but not injured.
Mr Baker said the airport was closed for about one hour while the plane was removed from the runway. He said no commercial or other flights were disrupted by the incident.
The aircraft is now awaiting repairs.