Part 2: Reading comprehension

Part 2: Reading comprehension

Read this press report of an emergency landing incident in South Africa, then complete the exercises which follow.

On 20th October 2017 a Cessna 208 took off from Stellenbosch Airport (South Africa), 50km to the East of Cape Town, with 17 parachutists on board. All appeared well when the single-engined Cessna took off but once it reached an altitude of 300m the engine cut out with warning, possibly due to a fuel blockage or ruptured fuel line. Fortunately, the aircraft was heading away from the built-up areas of Stellenbosch and Paarl and the pilot was able to make an emergency landing in the vineyards of the Fairview Estate, not far from the Goatshed Restaurant and the Goat Tower.

The Cessna hit the ground hard and the impact flipped the aircraft over before it finally come to a stop in the vines. Although those on board were badly shaken by the incident, fortunately no-one suffered more than minor injuries. Although emergency landings are not rare, what’s unusual about this incident is that, because the parachutists had cameras on the helmets to film their jump, the entire incident was caught on camera. Their films show, amongst other things, that the aircraft narrowly missed a car driving down the Suid-Agter – Paarl Road, giving the driver the fright of his life but without any more serious consequences.

The South African Civil Aviation Authorities have opened an investigation to determine the precise causes of the engine failure. One can but hope that the parachutists appreciate the irony that, despite being perfectly equipped for such an incident they didn’t have the opportunity to put their skills to practical use.


  1. Complete this table with details of the incident:
    Date 20/10/2017
    Aircraft Cessna 208
    Departing from
    Reason for flight
    Site of emergency landing
    Number of people on board 18
    Condition of aircraft
    Cause of incident
  2. Why is there so much video footage of this incident?
    Vocabulary building

    Match the words / expressions in column A, which appear in the text, with words / expressions in column B which have roughly the same meaning:

    A B
    all appeared well broken
    cut out turned over / onto its back
    ruptured almost hit
    fortunately towns, cities, urban areas
    built-up areas stopped (working)
    flipped (over) everything seemed to be OK
    badly shaken luckily
    are not rare filmed
    caught on camera were in shock
    narrowly missed happen quite often