Local News

Two hurt in Johnston County plane crash

Posted May 9, 2013
Updated May 10, 2013

— A flight instructor and his student were injured when the small plane they were flying in crashed near a private airstrip near Selma Thursday evening.

The Piper plane went down in a field about 7:25 p.m. near N.C. Highway 96 in Johnston County, clipped a power line – knocking power out for about 400 customers – and came to a stop on its roof, investigators said Friday.

Linwood Early Oakley, 64, of Kenley, and Elaina Essey, 24, of Greenville, were taken to WakeMed, where they were being treated Friday for injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening. Both were listed in good condition Friday.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft is registered to Phillip Essey, of Laurinburg. His wife, Helen Essey, said Friday that her daughter was flying the plane.

Helen Essey said authorities called her to let her know about the crash but that she hadn't been able to speak with her daughter, a teacher at Belvoir Elementary School in Greenville.

Justin Haggerty said he saw the plane slowly flying low before it crashed.

"(The pilot) made a really abrupt maneuver over the top of my house, hit the power line and belly-flipped," he said.

FAA investigators were at the scene of the crash for about two hours Friday morning, but they did not comment about what might have caused the plane to crash.

They will hand over their findings to the National Transportation Safety Board, which will likely issue a preliminary report on the crash in about two weeks.

Several neighbors ran to help, Haggerty said. Oakley had a gash on his head but did not appear to have serious injuries.

"The guy was banging his hand on the side of the plane saying, 'Get me out,'" he said.


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  • Obamacare survives May 10, 2013

    Wouldn't want either of them teaching me how to fly.

  • jblake1932 May 10, 2013

    I guess that electric line put the brakes on that plane. Glad they are alright!

  • ripetomatoes May 10, 2013

    Note to self: Only take off and land at airports.

  • confusedinnc May 10, 2013

    Bucket list item # 42: "Survive a plane crash".