A Lesson In Ditching?

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Any landing you can walk (or swim) away from may be a good one but it seems unlikely that Nor Azlan Yazid's ditching technique will make it into Malaysian Airlines' procedure book. The 25-year-old student in the airline's training program was on a solo training flight when his Diamond DA40 developed an unspecified engine problem over water about two nautical miles south of Palau Aman. After radioing distress calls and circling briefly to check his options, the young pilot decided on an unorthodox, but ultimately successful, course of action. Witnesses told Bernama.com that as the aircraft neared the water, Yazid managed to get out of the aircraft just as the plane hit. Restaurant owner Abdul Halim Ayob said he spotted the aircraft circling overhead: "I rushed to have a closer look and saw the pilot at the door of the aircraft as it was coming down but he managed to jump out just before it nose-dived into the water," he told reporters Friday. The DA40 doesn't have a door, but a forward-opening canopy, so it's unclear just how he got out of the plane. He was picked up, unhurt, by a nearby fisherman. However he did it, the incident was confirmed by Civil Aviation Department (DCA) director Ooi Chean Ong. "Azlan, who wore a life jacket, was plucked to safety by a fisherman who saw the mishap," he told Bernama.com. The Marine Police were on the scene within minutes of the pilot's distress call, but Yazid was already aboard the fishing boat. He was taken to hospital for a checkup but released. Recovery efforts are now under way for the aircraft, which is in about 30 feet of water. The plane is owned by Langkawi-based HM Aerospace Flight School.