UNION COUNTY — Two federal agencies and one local law enforcement agency are investigating the crash of an aircraft Sunday morning (September 27) near the Union County Airport that left the pilot injured.
Roger Bailey, Public Information Officer for the Southside Fire Department, said Sunday evening that at 9:28 a.m. that morning his department was dispatched in response to an aircraft crash near the Troy V. Shelton Field (Union County Airport).
“When we arrived on the scene the aircraft was fully engulfed,” Bailey said. “Three unknown individuals had pulled the pilot from the wreckage and then the aircraft exploded.
“We had to use foam to extinguish the fire,” he said. “It took 30 minutes to bring the fire under control.”
Bailey said the aircraft was a “1976 Piper Warrior” which he said “was completely destroyed.” He said the aircraft was valued at $70,000.
The pilot was transported to Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Center. Bailey said he had to be transported by ambulance “because the helicopters couldn’t fly because of the fog.”
Bailey said that his department was assisted by the Buffalo, Cross Keys, and Santuc fire departments, Union County Rescue Squad, EP50, and the Union County Maintenance Department. He said that firefighters remained on the scene until 4:45 p.m. that afternoon.
The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO).
Union County Airport Director Ronnie Wade said Monday (September 28) that the plane was based in a hangar at the Airport, and had taken off from the runway when the crash occurred. He said a group was having a fun day at the airport when the crash occurred and that three of those taking part in the event were the ones who extracted the pilot from his plane.
“They cut him out of the plane which had caught fire,” Wade said. “It actually saved his life those people being on-site.”
Wade said he had no information on the pilot’s condition, but said that he was a Spartanburg resident who’d based his aircraft at the Airport. He said that the pilot was on his way to Georgetown when the crash occurred.
As for the investigation, Wade said the FAA, NTSB, and UCSO are working to determine the cause of the crash. He said the wreckage of the plane was moved from the crash site and is currently stored in a hangar at the Airport and will remain under lock and key there while the investigation continues.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.