Sunday, April 08, 2012

'It's a miracle': Pilot of crashed plane expected to survive - Cessna 150H, N6616S, near Crest Airpark (S36) Kent, Washington

COVINGTON, Wash. - A pilot is "banged up" but expected to survive after Saturday's small plane crash near Crest Airpark - and some of his rescuers say it's a miracle he wasn't killed.

Friends will not reveal the pilot's name, but the registered owner of the downed single-engine said the man is a buddy of his - and that he is going to be OK.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon in a neighborhood just outside the air park. The plane flipped over and hit the ground just 15 feet away from one home where a little boy was napping in his bedroom.

Witnesses say they're just grateful that the pilot is alive and that no one else was hurt.

The first neighbors to reach the crash site told KOMO News they weren't sure if the pilot had survived, at first.

"Just looking at the airplane when I came out, I thought, 'He's going to be really lucky if he's alive,'" says Rob Regan.

The crash happened in the front yard of Regan's home. Running out to the plane, Regan found the pilot still buckled in.

"We tried to ascertain if the pilot was alive. He appeared to be breathing labored," says Regan.

He and others who were first on the scene carefully released the harness, and stabilized the man until paramedics arrived.

Regan also fly planes - and he thinks the only reason this pilot wasn't crushed is the lucky position of the Cessna when it came to rest.

"Where his head was in the aircraft, it was over the bottom of the ditch, and it actually saved him," says Regan.

A pocket in the ground where it was needed - so he was just literally saved by the ditch.

Some who saw it, including Regan's mother visiting from England, thought the same thing.

"I think it was a miracle," she says.

Regan suspects strong winds just above the tall trees may have surprised the pilot while he was taking off or maybe practicing a touch-and-go landing.

"He could have crashed into the house, or crashed into the trees, or hit the concrete," says Regan. "So there a lot of places he could have gone. He was really lucky ending up where he did."

The wrecked plane will be stored in a secure place in Auburn, where investigators can go over it to figure out what caused the crash.


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