Four survive plane crash near airport

COUNTY — Four people are safe despite going down in a small single-engine plane near the Pickens County airport on Sunday.
The plane, which was headed to Greensboro, N.C., was experiencing engine problems when the Pickens County Airport was notified that the craft would need to make an emergency landing.
According to Pickens County Emergency Management Director Chuck Haynes, his department responded to a call that a plane was experiencing engine trouble and was going to make a crash landing en route to the Pickens County Airport.
Haynes said emergency personnel, including ambulances and fire trucks, were quickly dispatched to the scene. Haynes said the plane, which was equipped with an emergency parachute, deployed the device.
“They were able to use the device to safely drop the plane into a stand of trees,” Haynes said.
Amazingly, the plane, a Cirrus, was totally intact and came to a halt in a tree about 25 to 30 feet off the ground near McClanahan Road off Breazeale Road about two miles from the airport.
Haynes said that four adults were on board, and all came away safe from the crash. Two of the plane’s passengers were transported to the hospital for minor injuries, while the other two were unhurt and refused medical treatment.
“Any time a plane lands in trees, it’s typically not good,” Haynes said. “But the mechanism seems to have worked in this case. It certainly could have been far worse.”
Haynes added the plane was on a return trip from Atlanta when its engine stalled.
Haynes credited locals that lived near the crash site for helping crews locate the plane, because the pilot was not familiar with landmarks and could not tell emergency personnel where the craft was located.
“The extent of the operation was basically rescuing the individuals from the plane, which was in the tree,” he said.
He said the plane was stabilized so it would not fall, and the passengers were safely removed from the wreckage.
Once the passengers were removed, the area was closed until Monday, when Federal Aviation Administration personnel could be on the scene to conduct an investigation.