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Air Race rescuers praised as pilot escapes serious injury

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Aja Styles and Chalpat Sonti

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Red Bull pilot walks from hospital

Brazilian pilot Adilson Kindlemann walked out of hospital today after his plane crashed into the Swan River.

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The unsung heroes who plucked Red Bull Air Race pilot Adilson Kindlemann out of the Swan River have described their daring rescue mission as "just doing their job".

The Brazillian pilot escaped serious injury after his plane crashed into the Swan River and was released from hospital on Friday.

His 540kg MXS-R plane hit the water tail first after the engine stalled shortly after rounding a chicane.

The rescue of Brazillian pilot Adilson Kindlemann has been praised by other pilots and police.<i> Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race.</i>

The rescue of Brazillian pilot Adilson Kindlemann has been praised by other pilots and police. Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race.

Within about 30 seconds of Kindlemann’s plane hitting the water, the first two rescuers on jet skies were already at his plane, which was floating upside down. Two rescue boats arrived just seconds later.

"We know the pilots so we take it really personally," said Danny Lopez, the rescue team captain who led the 10-person team to the accident site.

"We want to make sure we do the best we can for the pilots.

Brazilian Adilson Kindlemann just moments before his plane crashed into the Swan River. Click for more photos

Red Bull Air Race plane crashes

A Red Bull Air Race plane has crashed into the Swan River during a training session, believed to be Brazilian Adilson Kindlemann of Kindlemann Air Racing team. Photo: Getty Images

"I’m proud of the guys. I’m proud of the way we rolled out.

"We were just doing the job we train for."

There were five divers almost immediately in the water, Lopez said.

"It was really a straight-forward situation for us," the American team captain said.

"There were no major surprises. We were prepared for it. We practice it at every location.

"The plane inverted, we were prepared to go under, do the recovery and go inside the canopy, which is exactly what happened. It went by the numbers."

Lopez said Kindlemann was fully conscious when the divers got him out of his seat.

They gave him air under water and then quickly but calmly helped him out of the cockpit and into the rescue boat.

He says his team is always positioned at strategic points just outside the perimeter of the race track.

"Generally we’ll go in with three rescue boats spread around the course," Lopez said.

"Each boat has a redundant system. So if one boat gets there first, the second boat then shifts into their responsibilities. The third boat arriving then shifts into the second boat’s responsibilities.

"It was a text book operation yesterday."

The team of professional rescue divers have been at all 45 Red Bull Air Races over the years and never had an emergency before yesterday.

The pilots, according to former Red Bull Air Race pilot Steve Jones, are still in awe. 

"The pilots are speechless about the brilliant job they did," Jones said.

WA police commander Ferd Gere was full of praise for the rescue team's efforts.

"What I saw yesterday I must highly commend the Red Bull Air Race combat team that actually responded to it," Gere said.

"When you look at the time line from when the plane crashed into the water to the time he was admitted to Royal Perth Hospital, it was exemplary.

"The training by the Red Bull Air Race response teams unfolded in a very professional manner."

 

Kindlemann, 36, was taken to Royal Perth Hospital suffering whiplash after the crash, which happened about 11.50am Thursday.

Kindlemann said yesterday after the crash that "I feel good, I live, I feel alive" and he was looking forward to returning to racing.

"For sure, lets go. And this time I hope to be in the air and not the water," he said.

"It's OK. I'm ready."

RPH emergency physician Conrad Ng said Kindlemann seemed keen on arrival at the hospital to get straight back in a plane.

While transport authorities will not investigate the crash, air race organisers and the Swan River Trust will hold their own inquiries.

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