(Columbia) – A man whose plane made an emergency landing yesterday is thankful everyone made it out okay. James Keisler fears it could have been much worse.
The single-engine Cessna went down around 11 a.m. Sunday just seconds after it had taken off from Owens Field.
Keisler, his wife Joanne and his friend and fellow pilot Larry Ross had flown from Lexington to attend the Breakfast Club meeting, which is a social gathering for pilots.
After the meeting, the three planned to fly to Pelion on Keisler’s plane.
Keisler says Ross got into the pilots seat. As they taxied down the runway, everything seemed normal. He says once the plane was airborne, problems began.
“The engine started sputtering,” Keisler said. “Larry said, ‘We’re going down, we’re going down!”
As Keisler and the pilot tried to figure out what went wrong, they braced themselves for what would happen next.
“We hit the power line and dropped right onto the roof,” he said.
Keisler and Ross suffered scrapes and bruises. Joanne broke her arm. The three clamored out of the plane, which tore a hole in the roof of the Boineau warehouse. Fuel leaked into the room below.
A pilot himself, Keisler says he’s never experienced a problem with the plane in the past. He credits Ross’s deft maneuvering of the plane down onto the roof with helping them land safely.
“Larry did a great job. I told him I would fly with him anytime,” Keisler said, adding that he hopes an experience like this never happens again.
Keisler says he’s now waiting on the insurance company to check out the plane before he can move it. Once the plane is brought down from the roof, FAA investigators will take apart the engine to find the problem that brought the aircraft down to begin with.