COLUMBUS, Ind. - A single-engine, home-built plane carrying two people crashed into a home in Columbus Thursday morning.
The incident was reported about 9:30 a.m. in the 2200 block of Broadmoor Lane, just south of the Columbus Municipal Airport.
Joe Andrew, who lives six houses down from the scene of the crash, said he was working on his car in his driveway when the plane crashed:
"I heard the plane, and I looked up, and right across the street from me, it was about maybe 75 feet high. I thought, he's way too low, and the engine didn't sound right. The engine was running. He kept losing altitude… I saw him disappear behind the houses six houses down from me. I heard the impact and I called 911 right away... I ran down there and another neighbor I know… saw the passengers and one passenger had flames on his back, he helped put them out, then his wife was helping another passenger. He was thrown out of the plane. They were both walking."
The pilot and one passenger were airlifted to Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis.
Hospital officials told RTV6 reporter Derrik Thomas that both patients have severe burns, but they are both expected to survive.
The men were identified as Gerald Clayton and Dennis King.
Thomas said emergency crews told him one of the men from the plane said, "Thank God I'm alive," as they were treating him at the scene. First responders said both men were awake and communicating at the scene.
As of about 2 p.m., both families had arrived at the hospital to be with the injured men. Hospital officials said the men were still in the emergency room but were expected to be moved to the burn unit shortly.
By 4 p.m., both men were moved into the burn unit and Dennis King had been upgraded to fair condition and Gerald Clayton was in serious condition.
Few details were released about what caused the plane to go down, but it was taking off at the time of the crash. The plane is a Glastar GS-1, which was built from a kit, and it was registered to Clayton.
Spokesman Dick Knapinski of the Experimental Aircraft Association based in Oshkosh, Wis., told the Associated Press the Glastar GS-1 has been around "for a number of years" and that the association uses Glastar aircraft for its youth program.
Larry Ruble, who lives on Broadmoor Lane where the crash happened, said he knows the pilot and he built the aircraft himself.
StormTeam 6 Meteorologist Todd Klaassen said weather conditions were perfect for flying, so weather was most likely not a factor in the crash.
The house caught fire, but crews had the fire mostly under control just before 11 a.m. A woman who lives in the home was there at the time of the crash, but she was uninjured.
Another neighbor who was out for a walk at the time of the crash told RTV6 he ducked when the plane was coming, because it was so close.
"I was walking on this street and I… realized the plane had lost its control, and it came very close. I saw the plane crash, and I immediately saw the fire. I was very scared, and I did not know what to do," he told Pursley.
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