Zac Rockey and his co-passenger Trudi Spiller were flying back from an airshow to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I when their aircraft began to lose height, The Telegraph reported. The aircraft was just over the Devon coast when the engine failed completely.
"It went wrong. Essentially the engine quit on me and I looked inland, up there, and there weren't what I would class as survivable options," the pilot told BBC.
"One of the other things you learn in training is try and land near some people. Don't hit them, obviously"
With no landing strip in sight, the pilot had to think fast. So, he made an emergency landing at the Jacob's Ladder beach in Sidmouth, Devon. According to The Guardian, passenger Trudi Spiller frantically waved at beachgoers to move out of the way to avoid any injuries.
A helicopter of UK's National police air service reported that the plane managed to make a safe landing on the beach. Both the occupants and the beachgoers were reported unharmed in the incident.
While recovering from an incident in East Somerset spot a plane which had landed on the beach at Sidmouth after engine problems. Safe landing and all occupants okay. pic.twitter.com/rjynND9zcs— NPAS Exeter (@NpasExeter) May 5, 2018
The terrifying moment the plane landed on the rocky beach was caught on camera by several eyewitnesses. In one clip, the small World War-era plane was seen landing just a few feet from revellers and dogs at the stony beach.
The Telegraph posted a short video of the emergency landing on their Facebook page:
The pilot, believed to be in his forties, won praise from the authorities and his co-passenger alike.
"He showed great skill in landing on an area of the beach which was less populated than the area nearer to Jacob's Ladder," a coastguard spokesperson told Sidmouth Herald.
Co-passenger Trudi Spiller told The Telegraph, "Zac is my hero. He is an amazing, fantastic pilot and I had every confidence in him, absolute faith that he would land it."
Although the plane wasn't damaged, Sidmouth Coastguards decided to dismantle the vintage plane to remove it from the beach with no other option, Devon Live reported.Click for more trending news