Local News

Small plane crashes in Wilson

Posted October 8, 2009

— A small plane crashed into the Buckhorn Reservoir in Wilson at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Wilson police said.

The pilot, John Massey, 79, of Clayton, told authorities he was on a recreational flight over the reservoir when the sun temporarily blinded him. By the time Massey recovered, the plane was too close to the water to pull up, so he landed in the reservoir.

Small plane crashes in Wilson Small plane crashes into Wilson reservoir

Witnesses who were at the boat dock helped Massey get out of the plane.

Massey was evaluated by Wilson County EMS, but declined medical transport.

The Buckhorn Reservoir is located off N.C. Highway 581 on State Road 1142.

Crews removed the Remos G3, single engine, two-seat plane from the water around 10:45 p.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been contacted and the investigation will be handled locally by the police department. NTSB officials will serve as consultants.

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  • Travised Oct 9, 2009

    Here is what the TYPE of aircraft looks like. It is the light sport class.


  • gman007 Oct 9, 2009

    I was captivated by the headlines, which is of course what WRAL wants, regardless of the accuracy. I thought the plane crashed in "Wilson"!!! But, as it turns out, it was barely in Wilson County no where near "Wilson". Go for it WRAL!!

  • ConcernedNCC Oct 9, 2009

    If you suddenly see that you're too close to the water to pull up, you didn't decide to land, you crashed.

  • Journey985 Oct 9, 2009

    " I believe I can fly....I believe I can touch the......OMG..It's not the blue sky...It's Blue Water!!" Seriously, glad he is ok, and at 79 maybe it's time to hang up his wings, especially since the sun has now blinded him...LOL.

  • jet2rdu Oct 9, 2009

    Looks like John forgot his plane was not a seaplane with pontoons. Maybe, at age 79, John should have a copilot onboard.

    But seriously, he did not remember his "Minimum Safe Altitudes" or MSLs.
    If the flight is over a "low density" area he must fly 500 feet above it. If the area is "urban" below, he must fly 1000 feet above it. If the area is "congested", he must fly 2000 feet above it.

    Those are minimums, but for safe operations you should add a few hundred feet as a safety factor for VFR ops.