(Akhilesh Shere / GoFundMe)

It was a close call for a young pilot of a Cessna 172 in Qualicum Beach last night after the aircraft crashed near the Qualicum Beach Airport.

Emergency crews were alerted of the crash around  7:40 p.m., Sunday July 24th.

Oceanside RCMP said the pilot was the lone occupant of the plane and crashed into a ditch near a tree line beyond Qualicum Beach Airport’s eastern perimeter.

It was initially reported the pilot had suffered serious injuries, however, police released a statement Monday morning saying the pilot was extricated and transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“The Transportation Safety Board, Town of Qualicum Beach and the BC Ministry of Environment were notified of the incident and the Transportation Safety Board has since assumed conduct of the crash investigation,” RCMP added.

Several people living in the area reported seeing the plane flying over their homes and described the sound of the plane’s engine as “choking”.

The pilot has been identified as Akhilesh Shere from Victoria. Friends of Shere, who is in his early 20s, said he is an experienced pilot who carries multiple certifications, including for commercial planes.

A GoFundMe for Shere has been set up to help cover expenses during his recovery.

According to the fundraiser, Shere was airlifted to the Victoria General Hospital in serious but stable condition.

“Akhilesh is loved by many in the aviation community, and he is a vibrant young man with a second-to-none personality with a life full of dreams ahead of him,” the GoFundMe reads.

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