OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A small plane crashed in a neighborhood near Seneca Monday evening.
According to the Seneca Fire Department, the pilot took off from Oconee County Regional Airport, flew about two miles and landed on Planters Drive and Wells Highway. The pilot was the only person onboard.
Jack and Anna McKenna were inside their home Monday when they heard a loud noise coming from their yard.
“I heard what sounded like a tree crashing,” explained Jack McKenna. “I looked out my window because my window faces directly where the plane came down. I thought I saw a tree fall. Then I came rushing out, and it pretty easily is not a tree.”
Jack McKenna said he immediately check to see if anyone was injured. He said he found the pilot with cuts and swelling on his face.
“The way the plane crashed, he [pilot] was hanging upside down. He was inverted and semiconscious.”
McKenna said an off-duty firefighter and airport employee quickly arrived. The three then pulled the pilot out of the plane and treated him until first responders airlifted him to a hospital.
“It’s amazing that there weren’t more injuries to him as a result,” said Jack McKenna.
“The canopy of the plane was in pieces,” added Anna McKenna. “There are pieces of clear plastic all over the place. It was the cover of the plane. It was totally gone. There’s a wing crumpled underneath the plane. It sort of cartwheeled, we think, and ended up upside down.”
“There’s a tree that I think saved his life because the tree took the energy of the crash bending over so it [plane] didn’t hit the ground at full speed,” said Jack McKenna. “My neighbor said, ‘God planted those trees many years ago for a purpose, and that was so he [pilot] could walk away from this.'”
The FAA has listed the pilot’s injuries as “serious.” The McKennas said they are thankful the crash was not worse than it was.
“You can’t prepare for it,” said Anna McKenna. “All you can do is react.”
“About 60 feet from my house a plane goes down,” added Jack McKenna. “You don’t just walk away. You go and do what you can. I think that’s what you hope everyone will do is look out for their neighbors.”
The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.
“We will have a preliminary report in about two weeks posted on ntsb.gov. The full investigation could take a year or more.”NTSB Spokesperson