Light plane crashes at Otago airstrip

Two passengers involved in a light plane crash at Balclutha Airport today have suspected spinal injuries and a broken arm, after the aircraft began "coughing" on take-off.

Emergency services, including a rescue helicopter, responded to the 2.15pm crash on the along the Clutha River, which runs along the end of the runway.

"A 46-year-old male was lying on the ground and later ascertained to have suspected spinal injuries,"police said.

"The other male is aged 48-years. He was walking but has a suspected broken arm."

Fuel was leaking from the left wing of the KITFOX aircraft and the Balclutha Fire Brigade sprayed foam across the scene.

The right wing had broken off and the plane sustained serious frontal damage.

The Civil Aviation Authority made arrangements for the plane to be recovered tonight, and will be conducting an investigation into the crash, assisted by Balclutha Police.

The plane had been taking off from Balclutha Airport piloted by the owner of the plane, who was the trainee pilot, when the engine began coughing.

The instructor took control before the plane crashed into rough ground, police said.