Aircraft in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque crash was 'amateur-built'

The pilot was injured and is receiving treatment

An 'amateur-built' light aircraft crashed in the parking area of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on Wednesday. Victor Besa / The National
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An aircraft that crashed outside Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was an "amateur-built" kit plane, investigators said.

The light single-engine aircraft plunged into the mosque's car park about 5pm on Wednesday, injuring the pilot.

A large number of emergency services were sent to the scene. Officials said no one else was hurt.

The General Civil Aviation Authority said "preliminary investigations showed the accident was caused by a technical malfunction while the amateur-built plane was en route to land at Al Bateen Executive Airport", state news agency Wam reported.

The aircraft "crashed in an unpopulated area".

Al Bateen airport is in the south of Abu Dhabi island, with the start of the runway less than half a kilometre from the mosque.

"The pilot was injured and rushed to hospital for treatment and monitoring."

The GCAA will continue investigating the accident. Abu Dhabi Police initially said the aircraft was a glider.

At the scene of the crash on Wednesday, the front of the plane appeared to be collapsed, with the surviving tail sticking up into the air.

The plane touched down some distance from the main entrance to the mosque.

Known as 'kit planes', such aircraft are popular among solo flyers and hobbyists. They are normally designed for short pleasure trips and can manage short take-off and landing due to their light weight.

Al Bateen airport was closed to planes between May and August while a major runway refurbishment was carried out. Helicopter services continued throughout.

It reopened last month, with its runway now able to cater for wide-body aircraft.

Al Bateen airport reopens for flights – in pictures

Updated: September 01, 2022, 7:58 AM