Two escape serious injury in plane crash near airport

Jun. 13, 2013 @ 05:36 PM

OXFORD — Two men sustained only minor injuries Thursday morning after a single-engine airplane crashed.

Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins Jr., characterized the incident in a wheat field near the margin of the Oxford-Henderson Airport as a mishap between a really rough landing and a slight crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Beech A23 single-engine plane took off just after 10 a.m. Wilkins said pilot Albert Wehe of Raleigh was able to put the plane down in the field, and as he was slowing it caught on a small drainage ditch.

“It tore off a right wheel, and the plane went nose-down,” Wilkins said. “There was only minor damage to the plane and minor injury to the two men, thank goodness.”

According to the FAA registry, the plane was owned by Wehe, 81. A Granville County deputy identified his passenger as 41-year-old Matt McKee of Franklinton.

Farm workers nearby said they didn’t realize a plane had went down until they heard emergency vehicles.

Tracey Humphries said she and her children were at home when they heard the crash soon after the takeoff.

“We just heard a loud popping noise, and we ran to the window,” Humphries said. “It had just taken off, and it was turned around like it was trying to come back.”

She prepared to call 911, then saw a motorist headed toward the crash site. She decided to get a closer look.

“One guy was walking from the plane,” Humphries said.

Emergency first responders and deputies from Granville County arrived on the scene quickly. The sheriff’s office secured the site, including a long stretch of driveway leading toward the plane.

Sears Day was with a farm worker in a field across the road from the airport authority’s fenced property. They said they didn’t hear the crash, but they noticed emergency vehicles when they arrived.

Randy Humphries, Tracey Humphries’ husband, came home hours later.

In mid-afternoon, two members of the FAA had arrived to begin an investigation.

Randy Humphries said that planes take off and land as a routine. He said in more than 20 years, they have not seen a crash.

“There were several times I had to worry about, but never had one crash,” Randy Humphries said.

Wilkins said the incident was caused by an engine failure. The FAA had not released an official cause by presstime.

Granville County sheriff’s deputies said the two men were taken to a local hospital, believed to be Granville Medical Center, as a precaution. They did not have life-threatening injuries.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.