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Plane Wreck Knocks Out Power At FSU, Injures Pilot

February 9th, 2008 by flanews

The investigation into why a small plane crashed at a major intersection just a mile from the Florida State Campus is underway. The plane went down last night after clipping a power line that left thousands without electricity and trapped two students in a campus elevator. As Whitney Ray tells us, while the wreck injured the pilot it could have been much worse.

Just yards from where William Ash was selling barbecue Saturday night, a 4 seat Cessna clipped a utility pole and nose dived into the ground.

I still shakin, Im still nervous, Im still looking crazy like Im thanking God that my wife and my daughter okay, cause I feel like if it would have hit that post any lower, it wouldnt have went across the road, it would have came down directly on top of us, said Ash.

The 50 year-old pilot was flying alone from Maryland. Three seconds before the crash he sent a distress signal to air traffic control. Leon County Deputy Lee Majors was in a sheriffs helicopter and saw the plane go down.

The only communication he gave that gave us any indication he had a problem, he said Ive got a problem Im making a dead stick landing which would indicate the engine has failed, said Majors. Majors said the pilot was calm when he made the call.

Just seconds before the plane crashed, two students boarded an elevator on the seventh floor of Smith Hall at FSU. The electricity was knocked out, and they spent the next two hours trapped in the dark.

FSU Freshman Kristina LeBlanc and Caitlin Reilly were on the floor below.

I heard the yelling and I figured the elevator got stuck, said Reilly.

By morning, Federal investigators were on the scene and local authorities remained amazed that no one else was injured.

I think were very fortunate that the pilot made as good as decision as he could under the circumstance, said Majors.

Investigators will take a closer look at the mangled engine and twisted metal to see what caused the plane to go down. Theyll also talk to the pilot to find out how he survived the crash, and what he might have done to keep from hitting others.

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