3 survive plane crash

Published 10:46 pm Monday, August 3, 2009

Three people escaped serious injuries Monday afternoon when their single-engine airplane crashed while making an emergency landing on Deer Forest Road.

The 68-year-old pilot of the Mooney M20F suffered minor injuries to his hand and back, according to Suffolk spokeswoman Debbie George. He was transported by ambulance to the Suffolk airport and then was taken by Nightingale Air Ambulance to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Neither of his passengers was injured.

Roger Williams, who owns the property where the airplane came to rest alongside Deer Forest Road, said he didn’t hear the crash, but was alerted that something was wrong when one of the passengers knocked on his door and asked what road they were on.

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“I didn’t know what had happened,” he said, adding that police, fire and rescue vehicles soon were zooming past his house on the way to the scene.

Witnesses described the airplane circling over a nearby farm in an apparent search for a suitable landing spot after it experienced mechanical difficulties.

The pilot landed on a straight stretch of the unmarked, two-lane road, but he was unable to stop the airplane before reaching a curve, and he ran off the road, hit a tree and spun into the edge of the woods, according to city officials.

The airplane had been registered in Chesapeake, but records from the Federal Aviation Administration are unclear regarding its current ownership.