Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 26, 2011

Moody plane crashes in Cook County; pilot ejects

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE — An Air Force A-10C pilot assigned to the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base ejected from the aircraft moments before it crashed during a routine mission at approximately 2:45 p.m. Monday in a non-residential area in Cook County.

The pilot was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital of Adel for medical evaluation.

Moody and Cook County emergency response personnel were dispatched and proceeded to the accident scene, where reportedly the aircraft and surrounding

 area were burning.

Area resident Dale Warlick lives nearby and gave his account of the accident.

“I’m wondering if it was a bolt of lightning or something. I was in my house when I heard the pop and ran out and saw the plane,” said Warlick. “He was low flying at the time. I knew the plane was going down but thought there wasn’t any good spot for him to land back there (behind his house). "

Another nearby resident, Larry Taylor, rode out on a golf cart with his nephew to check on the accident.

When Taylor and his nephew arrived on the scene, an ambulance was already present, along with law enforcement officials. He said the pilot was in a small clearing in what used to be a Scruggs Concrete Inc. sandpit with his parachute lying at his feet. Taylor ended up transporting the pilot and emergency staffers back to the main road in his golf cart.

“(The pilot)  said that both engines quit; he said he coasted for two miles apparently,” said Taylor. “He seemed shaken up, but was laughing and carrying on. He was shaken up, but that seemed natural considering what happened.”

According to Taylor, the A-10's wingmate circled the crash site for about an hour at low speed and low altitude. Taylor said he could see the pilot in the cockpit while he circled.

The incident is still under investigation.

Col. Billy D. Thompson, commander of the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, provided a few scant details during a press conference Monday at approximately 8:25 p.m.

According to Thompson, the pilot is in stable condition and is currently located at the MAFB Flight Clinic.

“Over the next few weeks, a trained safety investigation board will focus their exclusive efforts on collecting and protecting evidence from the scene, gathering and analyzing all relevant data with the specific purpose of preventing future mishaps,” said Thompson. “As commander of this wing, the safety of the local community and our airmen is one of my top priorities.”

The name of the pilot has not been released in order to preserve the interests of the family, Thompson said.  

Thompson confirmed that there were two aircraft units, although he did not clarify specifics on the location or whether an explosion or fire was involved with the incident. He also failed to disclose information about the cost of the aircraft, whether the aircraft would be salvageable or when press would be allowed to photograph the scene.

Thompson also claimed to have no information about the training of the pilot or whether a distress call was made. He also said he had no information about the pilot’s medical condition, nor did he release any information about the mission of the pilot.

“We do as part of the initial response, we have environmental officers from Moody Air Force Base that will assess the site and make a recommendation on that,” said Thompson. “The final report should take 60 days; really don’t know how long cleanup could take.”

“I do not know where the aircraft’s at,” said Thompson. “The A-10, as a whole, is a highly reliable aircraft. The A-10 is a wonderfully reliable aircraft. All of our aircraft are obviously inspected before each flight, but I don’t have any further data at this point.”

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