Jason Fox (30) and 26-year-old wife Sally escaped unharmed from the wreckage of the single-engine Cessna after it hit a line of trees 100 metres short of a grass runway while returning to the main island.
One of two Australian tourists in the aircraft suffered a suspected broken ankle and had to be helped away from the scene by Mr Fox.
The plane was left embedded nose-first in a woodland, badly damaged and with one of its doors hanging off.
In a video filmed on his phone at the crash scene Mr Fox, who was visibly shaken and still wearing his life jacket, said: ‘So, we’ve just been in a plane crash and I’m not joking.
‘We were flying back from a volcano trip over the islands of Vanuatu and on our way back the engine failed. Thankfully we were flying past an island… so fate… I didn’t believe in it before but I kind of do now… having an island next to us, otherwise we would have been in the sea.’
Speaking later from his hotel, Mr Fox, a JEP sports reporter and NatWest Island Games high-jump gold medallist, said problems began as the plane was cruising at about 4,000 ft.
‘The engine started to splutter. Then it all went silent and we just started to float and then drop and the pilot started pulling on his levers and then said “Get your lifejackets on”.
‘People knew what was happening when it went quiet, but there was just a sense of disbelief. All I could think of was that I must not get knocked out when we hit the ground because if I did I thought I might not wake up again.’
The engine had cut out as the plane was passing the island of Erromango, and the pilot tried to steer the plane towards a grass runway.
‘We had gone over the island earlier in the day as we flew towards the volcano and I saw that it had a grass runway. After the engine stopped, as we got lower and nearer the airstrip I thought we were going to be OK, but we fell short of the runway and ended up crashing into trees at ground level at pretty much full speed.
‘Sally crashed forward into the guy in front and I hit my head on back of pilot’s seat. I think I might have a bit of concussion but Sally is OK.
‘If we had been 30 seconds further ahead when the engine cut out we would have ended up in the sea or in a cliff.’
Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands
The injured Australian tourist was treated at the scene and taken to the local vets to undergo an X-ray, as the hospital’s machine was not working.
Mr and Mrs Fox, who were married at Elizabeth Castle last month and flew from Fiji to Vanuatu last Saturday, and the two Australians were transferred back to the main island on a commercial aircraft which had diverted to the grass runway after being informed of the crash.