Pilot taken to hospital after SC plane crash in Colombia

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Emergency crews responded Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at Owens Field Airport in Columbia, South Carolina, after a small plane crash. The pilot was taken to hospital.

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Colombia emergency personnel responded to a powered glider accident at Jim Hamilton-LB Owens Airport Thursday noon.

Police said the pilot was taken to hospital. He was not stuck on the plane when it crashed, Columbia Fire Department spokesman Mike DeSumma said.

DeSumma said he couldn’t comment on the pilot’s condition other than he was injured. Investigators have not identified the pilot and his condition was not available at press time.

He was the only person on board, DeSumma said. The crash happened around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Firefighters and other emergency responders “did everything we could to get him out … and into the hospital,” DeSumma said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. Administration officials will determine a cause of the crash.

A man in his 60s was taking off in the powered glider, which was new to him, when it crashed, said Trevor Drayton, a former flight instructor who had been called to the scene.

Emergency personnel cleared the scene and the glider was sitting on the edge of the runway early Thursday afternoon.

Air traffic controllers were initially unaware of the crash until an air taxi saw it and told them the glider was in the woods.

A powered glider is an aircraft that carries little fuel and essentially glides when in the air. The aircraft was intact as it sat on the edge of the runway.

Resident Lethetta Ball lives in an apartment complex next to Owens Field and said she got home just in time to see the crash.

“It was scary,” Ball said. “My heart is racing. … My girls are home, luckily it didn’t crash into our apartment complex.

DeSumma spoke about the fact that apartments were nearby, saying it was horrific that an accident had occurred, but that emergency responders were relieved that he was confined to the track.

At 12:53 p.m., firefighters said the scene had been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration for investigation.

Richland County Councilor Allison Terracio is a council liaison at the airport. She said there was “no fire or explosion” related to the crash. Firefighters confirmed that the plane did not catch fire and that little fuel was spilled.

“Of course we never want anything bad to happen, but things like this do happen,” Terracio said. “I do know, however, that (county) staff and our emergency responders are dealing with it.”

Hamilton-Owens Airport borders the southwest side of the Rosewood neighborhood of Columbia. Nearby amenities include Owens Field Park and Skatepark, City Roots Farm, and Hunter-Gatherer Hangar Brewery, as well as a plethora of residences.

This is at least the second time this year that there has been a plane crash in the Jim Hamilton Airport – LB Owens area. In January, a pilot was heading to the airport on a foggy morning when he missed his approach and crashed into a house in the Rosewood neighborhood, and the plane eventually caught fire in a backyard. Greenville driver Farhad Rostampour died in that January crash. He was 62 years old.

This is a developing story and will be updated. Journalists Rebecca Liebson and Chris Trainor also contributed to this report.

This story was originally published October 21, 2021 12:28 p.m.

Joseph Bustos is a state government and politics reporter at The State. He graduated from Northwestern University and previously worked in Illinois covering government and politics. He won reporting awards in Illinois and Missouri. He moved to South Carolina in November 2019.
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David Travis Bland won the SC Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for Community Journalism. He joined The State in 2018. He writes about crime, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2010.
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