Local News

2 die in Greene County plane crash

Posted May 8, 2008

— Two people were killed Thursday afternoon when a small plane crashed in a farm field near LaGrange, authorities said.

The crash occurred at about 1:30 p.m. off Hood Swamp Road near Oakdale Drive in the crossroads community of Shine in western Greene County, authorities said.

Sheriff Lemmie Smith said the four-seater plane issued a distress call to the Federal Aviation Administration before it disappeared from the radar at about 1:15 p.m.

James Williams and Julio Herrera were working in a neighboring field on Triple S Farms when they saw the plane go down.

"We heard a boom ... and I saw the tail end of the plane when it hit," Williams said. "We jumped down and started running over there."

Williams said they could see a man's face in the window of the plane, but the aircraft exploded into a fireball before they could rescue him.

"We were trying to save him but couldn't get to him," he said. "By the time we got kind of close to the plane, it burst into flames."

The Shine Fire Department responded to the crash scene within minutes to put out the fire.

The plane crashed about 200 yards from a line of homes, but no one on the ground was injured.

The wreckage was so thoroughly burned that authorities haven't been able to identify the plane, its occupants or its flight path, authorities said.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA were en route to Greene County Thursday evening to begin trying to determine what might have caused the crash.

A piece of one of the plane's wings was found more than a mile away, authorities said.

The wingtip bounced off the roof of Cedar Grove Assisted Living Center and landed on the patio behind the facility, authorities said. Electrical wires from the wing still dangled off the roof Thursday evening.

"We were very, very blessed that there weren't any residents or anybody outside," said David Wiley, a staff member at the center.


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  • hkypky May 9, 2008

    treet007: Not sure where you were trying to go with your post beyond the sorry it happened part.

    If the reports are correct, and depending a exactly what the piece of the wing was that found a mile away, a biennial flight review mattered little.

    One comment says this was a Lancair IV. No guarantees, but someone travelling FL to CT in such a plane such is probably not an apprentice.

    You can put a Blue Angel pilot in the same situation, and it would appear the results would have been the same. We'll see.

    WRAL and others tend not to believe that following up on stories they report is newsworthy

  • haggis basher May 9, 2008

    It sounds like it lost part of a wing or control surface and went nearly straight in. Quick at least (hopefully)

  • GulfWarVet May 8, 2008

    it was a Lancair IV built in 2003, flying x-country from Florida to Connecticut, according to another local news agency.

  • Travised May 8, 2008

    Sounds like he called out a 7700. Not enough to speculate on anything else.

    For the "just in case" situations we went oversized tires on front of our bird, and our tail has a tire the size of the "typical tire" size you'd see on a 172 nose, not the micro sized tire they tend to use in tail draggers. Up in lake territory we go floats come shortly (not amphibs). Gives you a lot of options of where to set down. Even in a worst case option of no water if the bird gave out on you, you can set it down in tall grass safely. The field grass will help slow you down. Running out of fuel doesn't count as an excuse. You calculate how much you need and refuel early, leaving an extra 30 minutes for "emergency" in your tanks at all times.

    Funny thing is I feel a LOT safer in airplanes than cars. They have annuals, we inspect them before every flight. They (planes) are kept better maintained then cars.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ May 8, 2008

    It is extremely unfortunately and sad that such a tragedy happened. I am a former general aviation pilot, and I trained every two years as part of my biennial flight review, which included emergency landings in a field as part of my biennial flight review. The biennial flight review is a FAA requirement for all private pilots as a minimum. So an accident like this is very disturbing and sad.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc May 8, 2008

    I just hope that they were unconscious when it went up...

    Prayers of comfort for the families...

  • garnertoy May 8, 2008

    a bad way to go

  • PikeMom4real May 8, 2008

    What a terrible way to leave this world.You see what is going to happen with no way to prevent it.Just Horrible.

  • garden May 8, 2008

    My son is a pilot and I worry every time he goes up.

  • m0nky May 8, 2008

    OH SNAP!