Pilot safely removed from plane that crashed into power lines in Waycross

WAYCROSS, Ga. — Neighbors in Waycross, Georgia said they thought they heard a bomb go off just outside their homes Thursday morning. Soon, they discovered a plane hanging upside down in the power lines.

Neighbors said the pilot is lucky to be alive.

“He’s lucky. There’s only two wires holding that plane out there, and if it hit the ground it probably would have exploded and killed him,” neighbor Timothy Tice said.

STORY: Gaven Smith pleads guilty in the fatal shooting of a Nassau County football player

First responders flooded McKinley Road in Waycross after they received a 911 call about a plane crash. When they arrived, they saw it hanging upside from power lines. The pilot was still inside.

Timothy Tice was at home when he heard something unusual coming from the sky.

“I heard this plane having trouble, the engine cutting out. It quit several times,” Tice said.

Minutes later, Tice said he heard something like an explosion.

“I don’t know for sure what happened. I’m thinking it was probably mechanical issues. (The) airport is just south of here so they were making an approach,” Ware County Emergency Director Jonathan Daniell said.

Emergency management officials said the exact cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

Our first alert weather team said the skies were clear and there wasn’t much wind at the time of the crash.

Vernon Carter drove to the scene when he heard the news. He said he was afraid a friend of his was flying the plane that crashed.

“Looks like it’s totaled,” Carter said.

Both Tice and Carter said the pilot is lucky to have survived.

Living near the airport, neighbors said nothing like this has happened before.

“All of a sudden, lights went out and it sounded like a bomb exploded,” Vassie Sullivan said.

Sullivan is another neighbor in the area who heard the plane crash.

“It’s just like ‘oh my God’ there’s a plane hanging from the light pole. It was just hanging,” Sullivan said.

She said soon after she saw the plane hanging upside, she heard first responders on their way.

“He hung for about two hours... he looked very weak when they got him out,” Sullivan said.

Daniell said they first had to make sure the power was shut off before the rescue began.

He said the pilot was lucid when they made initial contact.

STORY: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigating its handling of unanswered 911 call

Then the first responders went to work, securing the plane with rope before using a harness on the pilot to lift him up and down to the ground.

Neighbors like Sullivan are happy the pilot is OK but think about what else could have happened.

Action News Jax is working to learn more about the pilot’s condition.



Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator.