It was supposed to be a once in a lifetime memory. It still willl be but for all the wrong reasons. The good news is that both of the people who were in the small plane that crashed into a wooded area just west of the Jonesboro airport will live to tell about it.
According to reports from eye witnesses and first responders on the scene, a two seat Challenger II aircraft, commonly referred to as an ultralight, lifted off from the Jonesboro airport sometime around 7:00 pm. on August 2nd.
The plane was piloted by Jackson Parish resident Gary Morris who was taking the wife of a friend on her first flight ever, while the husband remained on the ground at the airport. Soon after liftoff and just after the plane flew over the Wallace residence on Folks Road in Jonesboro, a loud noise was heard by the homeowners who were sitting on their porch and witnessed the terrifying ordeal.
“We were sitting outside and watched the plane come over when I heard this loud POP,” said Gary Wallace. “I ran out to the yard and noticed that the pilot was trying to circle the plane back around but that he didn’t have any power. He was basically gliding.”
“I told Jeanna to call 911and I took off towards the woods where I saw the plane going down,” continued Wallace who further credited Morris with doing a great job in a deadly situation. “I don’t know how he did it but somehow, even with half a wing ripped off, he kept that plane upright. He deserves credit for handling the situation like he did. It could have been much worse.”
Emergency responders quickly arrived and both people on board were transported to the Jackson Parish Hospital and later air-lifted to LSU-Shreveport. At last report the passenger was listed in critical but non-life threatening condition, while Morris was in stable condition with mostly minor injuries.
Per the initial reports it appears the cause of the crash was due to an engine malfunction. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash but at present nothing new has been learned.