‘It could’ve been much worse’: Homeowner, fire officials weigh-in on small plane crash and removal

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Crews were able to remove a plane on Sunday that landed in a tree behind a Greenville home.

The plane crashed into a tree about three miles from the airport near Woodlawn Cemetery and the former Wade Hampton fire station on Pine Knoll Drive.

According to fire officials, the pilot began having engine troubles while traveling towards Hendersonville.

The pilot told officials that he was hoping to make an emergency landing at GSP International Airport but he had to make an emergency landing immediately. He deployed his parachute and landed in a canopy of trees behind a home.

The Wade Hampton Fire Department and Greenville Fire Department were dispatched to the crash.

Alexander Vernet, the homeowner, said he was at the park with his children during the time of the crash but when he returned home neighbors and emergency crews were gathered on his property.

“There was a lot of emergency vehicles and a lot of neighbors came out. We thought that something terrible really happened to the house or something,” Vernet said.

Vernet said when his kids saw the plane they were excited

“My 8-year old said, ‘maybe they would hold out so we would have the coolest tree house in the area’,” Vernet said.

Within hours, the Wade Hampton Fire Department along with several other companies in the area worked until 6 p.m. to sucessfully remove the plane.

“They brought in two cranes, secured the plane, lifted it up and hauled it away on a flat bed. It’s stored at the Greenville Downtown Airport,” Mark Vaughn, assistant chief at Wade Hampton Fire Department, said.

No neighbors were injured and the pilot walked away with no major injuries — but fire officials said this was a very rare and lucky emergency landing.

“It could’ve been much worse. He just was really lucky where he landed because on one side of the property he landed on were trees and on the other side was a Duke Power Substation. It could’ve been really bad on that side,” Chief Vaughn said.

Neighbors were thankful nobody was seriously injured and Vernet said this is something he’ll never forget.

“It was very exciting, a lot more excitement than we normally get in the neighborhood— something I never expected and something I’d never forget,” Vernet said.

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