Sanford, N.C. — A plane crashed Wednesday afternoon in a field on Rod Sullivan Road in Sanford, authorities said.
Pilot Ray Kelley wasn't injured when his Piper PA 32 plane went down shortly before 4 p.m. He was the only one on board.
"Anytime you can walk away from a plane crash, you're lucky to be alive," he said.
Kelley said he took off from Siler City for a short flight to Sanford Lee County airport to have some maintenance done on the aircraft. Minutes before landing, he said he noticed an "odd phenomenon."
"I had too much power that the plane would not allow itself to land, but not enough to stay in flight," he said.
He quickly considered his landing options.
"I declared an emergency, and made a decision I would land in the cow pasture," Kelley said. "(The plane) actually still would not get down in the cow pasture, so I made a right-hand turn and ended up what it's at."
The plane came to rest in a hay field on Ammons Farm, a couple miles from the airport.
"He came under the power lines, hit the edge of the field, hopped across the road, took down both fence lines across the hill until it came to rest on the bottom," said Joel Ammons of Ammons Farm.
Kelley said the recent rain helped keep him safe.
"It soaked the ground," he said. "The wheels dug in really well and made good traction, and slowed me down even more. So, it was good."
Kelley said he's been flying since 2008, but likely take some time before getting back into the cockpit.
"I was offered a ride in an airplane back to Siler City," he said. "I turned it down."