Injured plane crash survivor speaks out
King still recovering after crash
Last Updated: 112 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - The survivor of the Columbus plane crash is speaking out about the moments before and after the impact of the crash that took the life of his friend.
RTV6 reporter Eboné Monét spoke to Dennis King, the passenger of the July 25 Columbus plane crash.
King has only been out of the hospital for a few days and has second and third-degree burns on 14 percent of his body.
Despite his injures, King said he's not sure if this accident has taken away his love for flying.
King described the moments after the fiery plane crash.
"I guess I had a pretty good gash on the top of my head, but I guess I didn't realize it yet with all the adrenaline. But then we started feeling gasoline dripping on our backs so I told Gerald we've got to get out of here as quick as we can," King said.
King said he was trapped by his seat belt, and unable to escape. He said there was a moment when he gave up hope.
"That was definitely a low moment. I've always assumed that burning to death would be one of the worst ways to go. There was a point where I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get myself out," King said.
King said the trouble started minutes before, as pilot Gerald Clayton performed a standard flight test 850 feet in the air.
"Then right after he turned down-wind, I noticed he was starting to get kind of frantic for the pitch control for the propeller," King said.
As they lost altitude, the plane was in the path of houses, and King remembers crashing through one side of a roof and out the other, landing in a back yard.
"It's a miracle we survived the impact. If there hadn't have been a fire, we probably both would have been in pretty good shape," King said.
Clayton survived the initial crash, and like King, was severely burned, but the 81-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran died weeks later from his injuries.
"You just felt so comfortable around him and felt like you'd been friends, you know, your whole life, just that kind of person, just naturally really likeable," King said.
King said their love for aviation united the men separated by a generation.
King is also a pilot and doctors said it will be at least a year before he fully recovers. He said even after that, he is not sure about flying again.
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