ALAN Baskett is counting his lucky stars after his life was saved three times.
The first was on July 10, 1978, when the small plane he was piloting crashed into an Airport West home.
He was running a flying school at the time when the plane lost control and crashed, killing six people.
The incident was one of the most infamous crashes in Victoria’s history.
The Department of Transport’s Accident Investigation Report states the aircraft became unstable at a height where the crew could not recover.
“The department in their wisdom certified an aeroplane that didn’t meet requirements and a design fault allowed the plane to go fully nose down,” Alan said.
“We flew the aeroplane between houses. We had too much strength.
“We wiped off the wings and ended up going backwards into a house at 275 kilometres an hour.
Alan said he has no memory of the accident.
“I don’t remember anything,” he said.
“The fortnight after the accident, I don’t remember anything.
“I had burns to my leg and hand.
“I had a fractured skull and a frail chest.”
Alan said if the plane had not hit the home backwards he would not be alive today.
“It saved my life,” he said.
Alan described the rest of his life as a miracle, he said whatever came next was a bonus.
That changed in 1998, when he needed another miracle.
But this time his wife Gwen was willing to help.
“Alan was first diagnosed with kidney problems in 1998 and about 10 months later he had to go onto dialyses,” she said.
“Then he got worse.
“After a lot of thought and asking people questions about what to do, I decided to donate a kidney.”
Gwen said as soon as she found out you could survive on less than 50 per cent of your kidney’s she had no hesitation in donating one of her kidney’s.
Alan said he had no words to describe the act of kindness his wife had shown.
“What can you say, you can’t ask for that sort of gift can you?” he said.
“It was a show of love.
“After 38 years of marriage we found out we were medically compatible.”
Alan’s run of luck continued just eight weeks ago when he had a heart operation.
He said if it wasn’t for his wife’s kidney donation he would be alive today.
“I have recently had a heart operation, there is no doubt I would not have been able to withstand the stress of that if it wasn’t for the kidney donation,” Alan said.
Now the couple have just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary.
Gwen said when they first moved to Bendigo she created the Bendigo and Regional Kidney Support Group.
“We found there was a lot of support in Melbourne but not a lot in Bendigo,” she said.
“We started the group and now we have about 120 members.”
Alan said his wife can’t let go of helping people.
Gwen said if anyone wanted to join the group they could contact her by calling 5444 0892.