The Telegraph - A man stretched out on the sand in northern Germany had a lucky escape when a light aircraft came in to land almost right on top of him.
Video footage obtained by German tabloid newspaper Bild showed the small plane, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II, coming in to land on the airstrip at Dune – a touristic islet off Heligoland.
The pilot descended towards the airstrip, but got increasingly close to the white sands – and the man lying face down beneath him.
"I was watching the planes come into land," said Rainer Schmidt, 52, who shot the video. "I had seen five planes land before this one came in. I instantly realised that this one was coming in to land far too low. The others were at least six metres high. It was so close to the man on the beach. The man was very lucky."
Another sunbather, Uwe Kaiser, said: "The man who was almost hit was lying down and he turned over to look after seeing the plane coming and then instantly flung himself down in the sand as it crossed over him. It really was a close shave."
The pilot, Juergen Drucker, 52, admitted that he misjudged the approach – but said that he had not seen the man because he was lying down.
"It was me that was flying and I am really sorry. I have to say, as the pictures show, that it wasn't one of my greatest achievements in the cockpit."
After the bumpy landing, Mr Drucker was able to patch his plane up and fly home the same evening. The sunbather, however, decided to find a safer place to sunbathe, and was seen standing up and walking off.
Okay so I saw this video before reading the story and immediately had questions:
1 - Was the pilot trying to do this on purpose?
2 - Did that guy really think just laying out next to a runway was a smart plan?
3 - Germany has beaches?
4- German beaches have runways?
5 - Wait, do all beaches have runways and have I just been ignorant?
6 - Or is this like a rich guy beach?
7 - Was this video real?
Then I read the story, and we got a few answers:
1 - 100% meant to do this. I don't know how I know it, but something in that cheesy apologetic quote of his set my bullshit meter off like crazy. The pilot clearly saw this dude and was like bro get the fuck out of the way and tried to freak him out. He may not have meant to take out the wooden fence posts (which I hope are more of a representational barrier than an actual form of protection, cus that plane broke the shit out of them), but he definitely meant to scare this idiot. It's like when somebody is crossing the street like a dick and you're driving, yeah you may rev up a bit just to freak them out, not that uncommon. This guy just happened to have a plane, whatever. Definitely intentional.
2 - Apparently, no, he wasn't just laying out there, he noticed the low flying plane and dove down, which is way less funny to know. I figured that was what had happened, but the initial idea of a guy choosing to lay down like a moron next to an airstrip is humorous only in the sense that you hope something goes wrong for him. Either way, I guess the image of that sorta fat dude diving face first in to the sand as a plane approaches is still pretty hysterical, so I'll accept it.
3 and 4 - Apparently, yes, yes they do.
5 and 6 - Still need to do some more research on this. I'm thinking it's probably a rich person thing, but to be honest I'm not too perceptive at the beach outside of the sand, ocean and drinking. It would be premature for me to just flat out state that not every beach has a runway.
7 - I mean, I guess. They got interviews and shit, but it just looks like a wayyyy too perfectly executed near-death moment, so I have my doubts. I mean we're calling this pilot a terrible flyer, but really this could've been flawless precision in realizing a very elaborate prank. Why would that guy start filming right then? How would we so perfectly see the guy under the plane? Just too many variables to be real. I think these guys knew exactly what they were doing now that I'm typing it out. Sacrificing your dignity (sand diver) and ability (pilot) to go viral. We've seen more far-fetched scenarios before, my friends.