AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — A Northeast Ohio pilot and his passenger are being treated for injuries they suffered when their small plane crashed into the parking lot of a community center in Akron on the Fourth of July.
Those who witnessed the aftermath of the crash consider the fact that they both survived to be a miracle.
Among the first 911 callers was a FAA radar control supervisor, who told the dispatcher, “we had an aircraft that was about a half mile out and he said, ‘I’m going down,’ and I don’t know if he made it.”
The dispatcher responded, “he did not, we’ve got a report of a crash.”
Witnesses reported seeing the Cessna Skyhawk gliding over the surrounding neighborhood and the aircraft was clipping tree tops just before slamming into the parking lot of the Ellet Community Center.
Another 911 caller told the dispatcher, “somebody is definitely badly hurt, send paramedics now please.”
The principal of neighboring Hyre Community Learning Center was initially told the plane crashed into the school, and when he rushed to the scene, he was convinced that the pilot and his passenger had been killed.
Larry Bender told FOX 8, “oh my God, be with them, be with the people in that plane, I couldn’t see how anybody could come out alive.”
Witnesses were surprised when they discovered that the pilot, 71-year-old Kenneth Jones of Mogadore, and the passenger, 63-year-old Lisa Baum of Uniontown, somehow survived. They were taken by life squad to Akron City Hospital.
Ellet resident Rebecca Wise told us, “it was like ‘my God, I don’t think anybody really did survive’ but I’m glad that they did.”
There was something else that surprised witnesses. “That I didn’t see an explosion, I mean there was no fire, no gas smell, it was just, I mean it was eerie,” said Larry Bender.
Investigators say the pilot took off from a small airport in Pennsylvania at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday, and was scheduled to arrive at Akron Fulton Airport at 7 p.m., but about a mile away from the airport, he apparently ran out of fuel.
The crash and how the pilot miscalculated how much fuel he needed to complete the flight are now the focus of an investigation by the FAA. But those who witnessed the aftermath of the crash, say the most important thing is that Kenneth Jones and Lisa Baum are alive.
“I didn’t think it was possible and I would say that they’d better thank God, they’d better thank the good Lord above,” said Bender.