Police Officer Burnt In Tasmania Plane Crash
A senior Tasmanian police officer is lucky to be alive after suffering severe burns while trying to land a plane he was flying for fun as a fire roared inside.
Recreational pilot Inspector Darren Hopkins, 51, was behind the controls of the plane when a fire started, his colleague Commander Brett Smith told reporters on Sunday.
Hopkins landed the plane in a field on Westwood Road in Hagley about 11.20am on Sunday before neighbours came to his aid and emergency services put out the fire.
"He is a recreational pilot and today was one of those days he chose to fly his aircraft. We believe at a certain stage there was a fire inside the aircraft and Darren was able to land the plan and exit," Smith said.
"It could have very well been much worse. Darren is, from what we can see, he is very, very lucky to be alive and we are very thankful he is."
The serving policeman was taken to the Launceston General Hospital and is in a critical but stable condition. He will be flown to Royal Hobart Hospital.
Hopkins has suffered 25 to 30 per cent burns to his body, Smith said.
No one else was in the aircraft.
Smith said his colleague had flown extensively around Australia and overseas and it was "remarkably lucky that Darren was able to land the plane".
"We are just very, very thankful Darren is hopefully making some progress. It is a tough day," he said.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate.