Pilot walks away from small plane crash in Wartburg

Morgan County driver says she had to swerve out of way of plane

(source: Helen Campbell)

WARTBURG (WATE) – A pilot escaped injury after a small plane crashed Thursday afternoon in Wartburg.

The Morgan County Emergency Management Agency says the crash happened just after 3:30 p.m. on Water Tank Hill Road just off Highway 27. The pilot was the only person on board and was able to get out of the plane on his own and talk to the sheriff’s department. Crews say he had only minor injuries.

Officials on the scene say the single-engine Cessna departed from Rockwood headed for Williamsburg, Kentucky. The cause of the crash is still not known.

Helen Campbell of LaFollette, who was driving near the accident,said fate took the wheel.

“I actually worked late that day and had to get gas and drove completely the opposite direction I would normally go,” said Campbell.

While going that way she says she checked in her rearview mirror, “And I see a plane behind me, literally on the road bouncing up and down out of control and it keeps getting closer. I’m thinking, this plane is about to hit me.”

Campbell said she swerved into a turn lane to get out of the plane’s way and within seconds she saw the plane crash into the tree.

“It’s one of those things people say it happens quickly but happens slowly at the same time which is kind of what happened. It was very surreal and almost like I couldn’t believe that just happened,” she said.

Emergency responders and everyone else say things could have been much worse.

“I saw the plane hit the tree and basically just fly apart and parts of it didn’t go into the road and onto other vehicles around is pretty amazing as well,” said Campbell.

She’s driven by since the crash and says it’s amazing how the pilot was able to walk away. “It’s kind of a scary thing to think how incredibly lucky that all of that worked out the way it did.”

The pilot’s name has not been released.The NTSB is in charge of the investigation and will determine the cause though it could take up to a year. A preliminary report should be available in about 10 days.

The plane’s registration number shows it is a Cessna 175A Skylark registered to Julian Ryan Murphy of Knox County.

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