Saturday, August 28, 2021

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N3862W: Accident occurred August 28, 2021 near Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (KSPA), South Carolina

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbia, South Carolina

Aircraft crashed due to unknown reasons. 

MMF Aircraft LLC 

Date: 28-AUG-21
Time: 16:40:00Z
Regis#: N3862W
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA32
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91

Authorities are investigating the cause of a small plane crash in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Spartanburg Saturday that injured three occupants who were on a training flight when engine trouble occurred.

The Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six crash happened at about 12:40 p.m. Saturday in a wooded area behind a home in the 300 block of St. James Drive, according to a police report.

Spartanburg Fire Assistant Chief of Operations Brad Hall said several neighbors called 911 to report the crash. All three occupants in the plane were transported to Spartanburg Medical Center.

Hall said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the cause of the crash.

"The plane salvage company should be there today to remove the plane," Hall said Monday. "They will do further investigation on the plane once it is recovered."

Police said the occupants were student pilot Roy Griffin Jr., and back seat passenger Deneen Griffin, his wife. Instructor pilot Margo Anderson was also in the plane. 

The only patient in the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Monday was Deneen Griffin, who was in good condition, according to an SRHS spokesperson.

Police said the Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six plane was resting nose down with its tail suspended in tree branches.

Roy Griffin Jr. was injured but walking around, and his wife Deneen and Anderson were lying on the ground minutes after the crash, police said.

Griffin told police they were doing a training flight from Spartanburg Downtown Airport to North Carolina and back, and were almost back to the Downtown Airport when the engine "began to sputter."

Griffin said Anderson tried to take over, but they ended up on the trees, according to the police report.

Witness describes scene

Kristen Fike said she was with her family at nearby Parkwood Pool when they saw the plane crash.

"The plane was flying low over us," Fike said Monday over Facebook messenger. "We were showing the kids, look at the plane. The next thing we know, it kind of clipped the tree and went into the woods right behind us."

Fike said she and a friend drove to the scene. She described what she saw.

"When we got there all three people were out of the plane," Fike said. "She (Deneen) was on the ground yelling about her back hurting and her husband was on the phone with their children telling them to pray for her. The pilot (Anderson) was turning off everything in the plane because she could smell the fuel and didn't want anything else to happen."

Before paramedics arrived to transport the occupants to the hospital, Fike said she overheard some of the conversation at the scene. The Griffins are members of her church and friends with her parents, she said.

"They said they were flying around for about two hours and noticed something was wrong, so they started heading back to the airport. That's when they crashed. I think they were trying to land in an area without houses.

"They were definitely lucky that nothing worse happened," she said. "God had a hand on them that day."

Hall said small plane crashes in Spartanburg are "unusual."

"That's kind of unusual to have a plane crash in a neighborhood," Hall said Monday.


  1. trees on St. James Drive folded the wings and cushioned the cabins descent just to the hard earth below.

  2. Oh this is awful. Thoughts to those on board and their families at this time.