FAA Flight Standards District Office: CHARLOTTE
AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED IN A WOODED AREA NEAR MORGANTON, NORTH CAROLINA
Aircraft Make: SUPER SIX
Aircraft Model: SUPER SIX
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: NORTH CAROLINA
One man was injured in a plane crash in Morganton on Monday afternoon.
John Henry Shell Sr., 84, of Morganton, was taken to Carolinas HealthCare Systems Blue Ridge in Morganton and is reported as being stable, said Capt. Jason Whisnant with Morganton Department of Public Safety.
A source close to Shell said that he received lacerations to the face and was "bruised and banged up" and will be taken to a Charlotte hospital for further evaluation.
Shell was flying an experimental aircraft in the area of Jamestown Road and Rain Tree Lane when he crashed in a field near the road around 4:30 p.m., Whisnant said.
There were no others in the plane with Shell, he said.
Authorities believe he may have started the flight at the Silver Creek Airport, which was less than a mile from where the crash happened near the carbon plant in Morganton.
There was heavy fire and smoke when police and firefighters arrived on scene and the pilot was already out of the plane, Whisnant said.
“It appears there were some mechanical issues with the plane just from what witnesses are stating,” Whisnant said. “The plane began losing altitude a short distance from here.”
The crash also caused nearby woods and a field to catch fire and firefighters responding by applying a foam spray to suppress the fire before it spread.
John Garrington, of Morganton, was driving by when he saw the plane go down. He was the first to call 911 and trekked through the woods to find others helping the pilot out of the plane.
Tyler Woodard, who lives near to where the crash happened, saw the plane flying around the area several times.
“I guess he was doing little trial runs and it looked to be just fine, good clean runs as far as I would say,” Woodard said. “I am sitting from the porch of the apartments and I literally see something come down and it exploded.”
Woodard immediately began running toward the flames to help pull Shell out with the help of another man who saw the plane plummet, too.
“We drug him out and saw his nose and that it was busted up,” Woodard said. “We both looked to see if there was anybody else secondary in there and me and the other gentleman were prepared to go in, but he (Shell) said first hand that nobody else was with him.”
Woodard said that Shell was alert and coherent and was able to get himself over to a vehicle.
“I think when the (first) responders got here that is when he really figured out what had happened,” Woodard said.
Woodard said it was a blessing that Shell was still alive and that some neighbors came over and prayed with him.
The plane was a total loss, and part of it was lodged in a tree after making impact before striking the ground.
Responding agencies were Morganton Department of Public Safety, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Burke County Fire Marshal’s Office, Burke REACT, Burke County Rescue Squad and Burke EMS.
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