Tuesday, January 06, 2015

15-year-old sole survivor of plane crash

13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

15-year old Joel Hutchison is a gifted straight A Freshman at Shawnee High School in Lima, Ohio. To meet him in person you'd never imagine the trauma he endured as 7-year old. That's when the small Cessna plane his father Jeff was piloting crashed in the waters just off the shores of Kelly's Island on September 3rd, 2007. Joe's father and his 9-year old brother Jeremy were both killed in the crash. “I stood on the plane wing and I looked to see where everyone was, and my dad was floating in the water about 15-feet away,” says Joel. “I knew Jeremy was gone because there was no response and I didn't see him anywhere.” 

Joel says the plane went underwater and he was left to tread water about a mile from the shore.  “Luckily, my dad told to me to yell for help before he went under,” says Joel.  “At that point, I was decently sure I'd never see them again.” 

Island Resident Chuck Herndon and his wife saw the crash from shore.  Chuck grabbed his row boat and headed out with a flashlight to help any survivors.  “I heard a small voice crying for help and I said keep screaming.” Says Herndon.  “I don't even know how I did it myself, the chances of like almost no wounds on me besides some small scrapes, I don't understand it myself, and it really is a miracle.” Says Joel.  

Story and Video:  http://www.13abc.com

  NTSB Identification: CHI07FA290
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, September 03, 2007 in Kelleys Island, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/26/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 172C, registration: N1301Y
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The non-instrument rated pilot departed to the east from the island airport at night. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane descend into Lake Erie shortly after takeoff. A resident of the island used his rowboat to rescue the surviving passenger. Post accident inspection of the airframe and engine failed to reveal any mechanical failure/malfunction that would have resulted in the accident. The departure end of the runway is approximately 200 feet from the lakeshore. The closest ground reference would have been the Ohio shoreline located about 10 miles south (to the right of) of the airplane's position.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation. Contributing to the accident were the water and dark night conditions which resulted in the lack of ground references during the takeoff.

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