updated 5/21/2008 8:26:23 PM ET 2008-05-22T00:26:23

It seemed like an almost literal answer to their prayers. When two New Zealand pilots ran out of fuel in a microlight airplane they offered prayers and were able to make an emergency landing in a field — coming to rest right next to a sign reading, "Jesus is Lord."

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Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson, both from the town of Blenheim on the country's South Island, were flying up the sloping valley of Pelorus Sound when the engine spluttered, coughed and died.

"My friend and I are both Christians so our immediate reaction in a life-threatening situation was to ask for God's help," Stubbs told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

He said he prayed during the ill-fated flight Sunday that the tiny craft would get over the top of a ridge and that they would find a landing site that was not too steep — or in the nearby sea.

Wilson said that the pair would have been in deep trouble if the fuel had run out five minutes earlier.

"If it had to run out, that was the place to be," he said. "There was an instantaneous answer to prayer as we crossed the ridge and there was an airfield — I didn't know it existed till then."

After Wilson glided the powerless craft to a landing on the grassy strip, the pair noticed they were beside a 20-foot-tall sign that read, "Jesus is Lord — The Bible."

"When we saw that, we started laughing," Stubbs said.

Nearby residents provided them with gas to fly the home-built plane back to base.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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