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Horse trainer cheats death after plane crashes on exclusive island resort

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A TOP horse trainer has miraculously cheated death after the plane he was in crash landed on an ultra-exclusive island resort.

American handler Phil Bauer was one of ten passengers aboard the small aircraft which flipped after overshooting the runway, according to reports.

Agent John Moynihan and whiskey tycoons Richard and Tammy Rigney, along with their 14-year-old daughter Madison, also escaped mostly unhurt.

Incredible photos showed the mangled aircraft smashed to pieces after hurtling to ground on Lizard Island, a secret retreat on the Great Barrier Reef.

It is believed the plane, which was flying to Cairns in Queensland, Australia, suffered a ‘mechanical malfunction’ mid-air and attempted to return to the island but clipped trees on its way down.

The single propeller plane was found upside-down on a rocky outcrop with its fuselage shreeded.

Two emergency helicopters rushed to the scene and four passengers were flown to Cairns Hospital.

Madison was believed to have hurt her arm while another passenger had a head injury.

Bauer and Moynihan’s wives were also on the plane and believed to be unhurt.

Royal Flying Doctor Service nurse Stephanie Beatty said it was a miracle there were no deaths.

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She told 9News: “I think the people are very lucky to be alive.”

While Brian Keating of Queensland Ambulance service said: “The pilot’s clearly done an incredible job.

“To walk away from something like that is just incredible.”

A friend of Moynihan’s said: “I spoke to John and all is in order, they’re all in good health and reasonable spirits.

“They were incredibly lucky to be able to walk away from a catastrophe.”

Lizard Island is a popular scuba diving and holiday destination known for it’s ‘powdery white beaches’.

The retreat is just 10 square kilometres and it costs around £1,000 a night to stay there.

Bauer is private trainer to the Rigneys, who established the popular Fireball whiskey drink.

Richard is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and it is believed the plane that crashed was heading back to mainland Australia before the family returned to the States.

Bauer has won 142 races as a trainer and collected more than £9.5million in prize money.

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