Plane kills jogger in SC beach emergency landing
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – A 38-year-old father of two was jogging and listening to his iPod when he was hit from behind and killed by a small plane making an emergency landing on the beach, officials said Tuesday.
Robert Gary Jones of Woodstock, Ga., was killed instantly on Hilton Head Island on Monday evening, said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen.
The single-engine plane had lost its propeller and the pilot’s vision was blocked by oil on the windshield, Allen said.
Jones was married and had two children, the coroner said.
“Apparently he did not see nor hear the plane,” Allen said. “The plane was basically gliding.”
Hilton Head fire and rescue spokeswoman Joheida Fister said the identities of the pilot and a passenger on the Experimental Lancair IV-P plane were not released. The two were not injured.
The plane started leaking oil at about 13,000 feet and tried originally to make it to Hilton Head Airport, Fister said.
The oil on the windshield blocked the pilot’s vision and he told authorities the propeller came off the plane. When he tried to land on the beach near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa, the plane hit the jogger and came to rest a little farther down the beach, she said.
“I would have to say it’s pretty unusual,” Fister said.
FAA records show the aircraft was registered to Edward I. Smith of Chesapeake, Va., with a certificate issued in 2004. Smith has a private pilot’s license, according to FAA records. Nobody answered early Tuesday at a phone number listed for Smith and a message was not immediately answered.
The plane left Orlando at 4:45 p.m. and was headed for Virginia, Fister said. The four-seater plane has a turbine engine, can be built from a kit and can fly up to 370 mph, according to the Lancair Web site. The IV-P model has a pressurized cabin.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Fister said.
An FAA spokeswoman referred inquiries to the NTSB.