The Journal Gazette
Sunday, September 05, 2021 1:00 am

Pilot unhurt after plane crash at Smith Field

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

A man crawled out of his overturned plane unscathed after he took off from Smith Field and then came back, crashing in a field of soybeans.

What caused the small plane to overturn about 2:30 p.m. Saturday will most likely be released after investigations are completed, but a passerby said the plane was very wobbly in the wind before it flipped over.

Joe Marana, Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority director of operations and facilities, said the sole passenger was not hurt but had taken off and then turned the aircraft around before it overturned.

Marana identified the plane as a single engine “tail dragger,” a very light plane that might not weigh more than a small Volkswagen.

After investigations are concluded by his agency and Fort Wayne police, Marana said the plane would likely be uprighted by a wrecker and rolled into a hangar.

Karen Fox, the passerby, was walking north on the Pufferbelly Trail that runs adjacent to Smith Field and was one of several people who ran to help after she watched the plane flip over.

Fox said one man jumped over a 4-foot-high chain-link fence on the Cook Road side, but by the time he got to the plane, the survivor was crawling out and didn't appear to need help. She didn't recall any noise as the plane went down.

As Fort Wayne police conducted their investigation, the pilot was seen standing by his plane.

Sgt. Rodney Bradtmueller with the Fort Wayne police air support unit said his team would be mapping the scene with drones.

Marana said the last time there was a plane crash at the small airport north of downtown, the plane landed on the other side of Cook Road. No injuries were reported in that crash last summer.

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