The RAAF Hawk fighter trainer after making an emergency landing at Coffs Harbour Airport
The RAAF Hawk fighter trainer after making an emergency landing at Coffs Harbour Airport The Coffs Coast Advocate

Pilots praised for their cool approach

THE two RAAF pilots at the centre of Wednesday's dramatic events in Coffs Harbour have won praise from Defence top brass.

Their damaged Hawk 127 fighter trainer was diverted to the airport and landed safely at 11.30am after apparently hitting a high-voltage powerline.

“The two Hawk pilots dealt with this incident in a calm and professional way,” group captain Alan Clements, chief of staff, Air Combat Group, said.

“Air Force provides intensive training so our pilots are well prepared to handle contingencies like this.”

The dual Defence teams which travelled to Coffs Harbour are continuing their investigations.

Transgrid spokesman David Fayyad said one of its 330,000-volt lines was brought down at Guy Fawkes Gully, between Dorrigo and Armidale, at 10.30am on Wednesday.

It was a 1.3km section of line spanning the gully between two transmission towers.

“We located the fallen line at the top of the ridge and we noted the line had been severed,” Mr Fayyad said.

“It will take a few days to repair the line. We're working out how to fix it, which may involve the use of a helicopter.”

Mr Fayyad said the incident didn't put electricity supply at risk, with no blackouts were reported.

“Our role was to make sure the line was switched off. We also let the National Parks and Wildlife Service know,” he said.

The entire high voltage line runs from Armidale to Coffs Harbour.

“We have three lines to Coffs Harbour. Because one goes doesn't mean there is any supply loss,” Mr Fayyad said.

Transgrid was not making a direct link yesterday between the fallen line and the RAAF Hawk.



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