The wife of a pilot whose plane crashed in Anne Arundel County Thursday morning said the plane's engine failed shortly after takeoff from the county airport.
The Beechcraft BE 23 clipped one home and crashed into another in a residential mobile home park on S. Bruce Street in Maryland City, Md., near the Baltimore-Washington Parkway around 10 a.m. Children live at both homes, but neither home was occupied at the time.
The plane crashed shortly after departure from Suburban Airpark in Laurel, the FAA confirmed. Witnesses said it appeared to be flying too low and clipped a tree before crashing, according to Maryland State Police. The pilot was identified as 70-year-old Ronald H. Dixon.
"I'm still in shock," said his wife, Anne Dixon. "When he realized that the engine had died, he was focusing on something on the ground that he was going to cause the least amount of injury to property or person that he could."
Two men who live in the mobile home park rushed to the scene and pulled Dixon out of the wreckage despite the possibility of fire or explosion, News4's Chris Gordon reported.
"I heard a big crash,” said John Carter. “I came outside to see what it was and saw a plane in the middle of the street. We saw the pilot was in a lot of pain and we just came around and saw the plane was leaking, so we just kind of pulled him out and tried to get him out to safety in case the plane caught fire.”
"We have to move him now. Now!” Joe Arrington said. “I'm afraid that we might get some flames with the stuff still running. The pilot was conscious. I at that point put my arms under the pilot, up under both of his arms, not to move him, just to get him away from the plane."
Anne Arundel County Fire Chief Keith Swindle said Dixon was conscious and alert during transport to University of Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore. Dixon, who was alone in the plane, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, including cuts to the face and jaw.
Carter told Gordon he and Arrington aren’t heroes.
”Just helping out,” he said. “Doing the best we can for somebody else."
There were no reports of injuries on the ground.
A trench was dug around the mobile home for possible fuel leakage, but Swindle said the spill from the plane has been sustained and mitigated. There are no hazards in the area, which remained closed as of 3 p.m.
The FAA is sending inspectors to the scene and will arrange to have the plane removed for investigation.
Dixon was flying the plane to York, Pa., for a sale, according to the NTSB, which also was called to the scene to investigate the cause of the crash.
“The airplane was being sold to another individual at the time, and it was on a delivery flight,” said Todd Gunther of the NTSB.
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