Monday, March 24, 2008

A Day I'll Never Forget - By Dianne - 03/05/08

You know, you see things like this on TV and read about them in the newspapers, but you don't expect to be an eye witness to an airplane crash! I'm still shaking. And it has been several hours now since it happened.
Jim, Pam, Terry, Grizz & myself were doing mostly trail riding and some clean up work down at WTOP (for those that don't know what that stands for it means, Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park).
Terry & Pam had just split off with us because they had to go home to get ready to attend a meeting of another ATV club, Mountain Trails. Grizz, Jim & myself were going to go by the water tower and make our way over to the other side to the Mud Bowl.
We saw this small airplane that was going really slow and low.... and I do mean LOW! It looked as if it was trying to land. I won't go in to details here but the next moment we saw it go down. We all knew it had crashed.
Jim and Grizz took off toward where they thought it had landed. I stopped for a second to call 911. I would say that the call came in no more than 30 seconds after the plane went down. Maybe that was what helped to save his life. I hope so.
There was one man in the plane. He was alive when I got there. I'm here to tell you I was scared to death. I couldn't bring myself to actually look to see him. I was afraid to look for what I might have seen.
In an attempt to make a long story short, I went down to the intersection of the road on 1344 to wait on the rescue people to get there and lead them to the crash site. I know one thing... Miss Kitty can run off and leave a fire truck sitting in my dust! I had to almost stop a time or two waiting on them to catch up. BUT then I guess driving what they were and hauling what they were that they can't keep up with something like an ATV.
By the time I got back up to the crash site, they had the gentleman out of the airplane. He was hurt, not sure how bad but at least he was alive. The fire truck/ems people called for an air rescue to come to the site. It took about 20 minutes for it to get there. The rescue squad had gotten there shortly after the fire trucks and attended to the mans injuries. They loaded him into the back of the ambulance and waited with him there till the air rescue arrived on site.
From what I was reading at the WYMT news site they took him to UT Knoxville Hospital. I wish that I had a way of knowing that he will be OK.
Before I go any further I have to mention that not only was it the three of us at the crash site, but Brandon & David were on the other side, near the Mud Bowl and came over too. All 4 of them pulled the man out of the plane. They arrived there while I was down waiting on the rescue squad. I'm still so shaky that I'm having a hard time remembering it all. Or should I say put everything in the order of events? Yeah that's it.
I'm going to try to call Knoxville tomorrow to see if I can get in touch with any of the mans family to make sure that he is OK. I pray that he will heal from his injuries and will be alright. It is so remote up there that if someone had not seen him go down I'm not sure how long it would have been before someone found him. And with him being in the shape that he was, I'm afraid to think of how he would have been if it had been a long time. I'm sure that he wouldn't be alive.
Well, that is what has happened in my part of the world on Thursday, March 13, 2008! Sure hope it does not happen again anytime soon!

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