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Small plane loses power and skims suburban rooftops before making crash landing on belly

A pilot and passenger emerged unscathed from a light plane that made a dramatic crash landing in Australia after flying perilously close to houses in suburban Sydney.

Footage from Nine News showed the plane coming dangerously close to trees and buildings as the pilot steered the stricken aircraft towards Bankstown Airport in Sydney’s southwest.

“It was gliding, there was no power,” pilot Jake Swanepoel told Nine News. “We clipped the trees, and we just made it over the hanger.”

Swanepoel managed to land the plane on an airport taxiway, where it skidded to a stop on its belly.

Swanepoel told Nine News that he retracted the landing gear because the plane was so low he thought it might hit the roofs of houses as the aircraft made its nerve-wracking approach.

Ground staff dashed to assist them, but Swanepoel and his partner Karin climbed out of the aircraft unscathed. “We didn’t think we were going to make this landing strip here,” Karin told Nine News.

That would include seeking a report from the pilot, who’s been flying for 29 years, according to Nine News.

“It was scary and nerve-wracking because you were thinking about all these homes… if you don’t make the runway,” Karin said.

When asked how they would celebrate reaching the runway, Swanepoel joked saying “nothing, just be alive.”

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