EVANSVILLE, Ind. – A small plane that reportedly had engine trouble on a flight from Illinois to Tennessee crashed on an Evansville golf course on Sunday afternoon.
Four people were aboard the green and white Piper Cherokee Lance which came down on the No. 17 hole of the Helfrich Golf Course in the west side of town around 2 p.m.
A spokeswoman for the Evansville Police Department said all four were taken to hospital with what she described as “non-life-threatening injuries.”
Three teenagers were playing on an adjacent hole when one of them, Micah Luckett, told the others he had spotted the plane en route to the course.
“He tells me there’s a plane crashing and…I was like, there’s no way a plane is crashing,” said Max Renshaw, one of the other teenagers. “All of a sudden, we just hear a loud noise. And the three of us drop our bags and rush up the hill. And of course the plane crashed. Micah (called) 911.”
The third teenager, Mason Harth, went to check on the four passengers, Renshaw said.
According to Flight Aware, a plane with a matching registration number took off from Taylorville, Illinois, at 12:48 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Gallatin, Tennessee, shortly before 3 p.m. According to tracking on Flight Aware, the plane had reached the confluence of the Wabash and Ohio rivers near southern Posey County when it diverted course and headed toward Evansville.
The identity of the passengers has not been released.
Luckett said when he called 911 to report the crash, a dispatcher told him they had already been alerted to a small plane having engine trouble.
An Evansville Police Department officer guards the scene of a small plane crash landing at Helfrich Golf Course in Evansville, Ind., Sunday afternoon, Oct. 30, 2022. (Photo by Stan Sussina/Evansville Courier & Press)
“(911) asked me which golf course and which hole because they already had people ready to pick them up,” Luckett said.
Harth, who went to check on the passengers, said he found two adults and two children.
“They’re all laying there (near the plane),” Harth said. “None of them were (seriously) injured.”
Harth said the pilot told him there had been an engine problem during the flight.
The EPD secured the scene for further investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. A preliminary report on the crash could be released in as little as three weeks, according to NTSB spokeswoman Sarah Sulick.
However, it may take much longer for the agency to release its final analysis of the accident.
“The FAA was on site this morning to recover the aircraft for further work by the NTSB at an undisclosed location,” Sulick said. “The probable cause and all contributing factors will be included in the final report, which can take 12 hours. [to] 24 months to complete.
As for the teenagers, they said they played in class once a week. They’ve been going to Helfrich lately because greens fees are lower as the city repairs damage from equipment failures over the past year.
Usually it’s just Renshaw and Luckett. They invited Harth on Sunday. They admitted to having “achieved more than they bargained for”.
“Best five dollars I’ve ever spent,” Harth said.
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