Plane crashes in Colleton while trying to do emergency landing at local airport

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By HEATHER RUPPE

Federal and local officials flooded a portion of Round O Road on Friday, Oct. 22nd at reports of a plane that crashed into a wooded area off of S.C. Highway 61.

Response crews from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, the Civil Air Patrol, Colleton County Fire-Rescue and the FAA all ascended onto the heavily-wooded scene about three minutes after 911-calls first began pouring into the local emergency call center at about 4:04 p.m.

“Five sheriff’s deputies arrived a few minutes later and a nearby resident flagged them down near Lindsay Road, advising her husband was at the crash site in the woods and yelling for help. The deputies fanned out and began searching the area and found the burning aircraft approximately 600 feet off of the roadway in a densely-wooded swamp,” said Barry McRoy, director of Colleton County Fire-Rescue.

The unidentified pilot was ejected from the crash and was found, badly injured. “He suffered multiple traumatic burns and injuries,” said McRoy.

The pilot was flown to the Medical University of South Carolina’s Trauma Center in Charleston.

The plane’s passenger died at the scene: Madeline Thorney, 24, of Alexandria, Virginia, died in the crash, reported Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey.

According to McRoy, the 6-person, single-engine plane reported engine problems while en route from Virginia to Florida. The plane’s pilot was trying to land at the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro when the crash occurred.

“Debris was found over a 200-foot area,” said McRoy.

Two Colleton residents, Carla Farmer and her husband, Chuck Farmer, were among the first people to stumble across the plane crash and helped people on the scene, according to Farmer. The couple was in their yard when they saw the plane right above the treetops over their neighbors house. "We heard a pop and then it went silent, we heard not crash", said Farmer. Chuck Farmer located the crashed plane and helped the badly injured pilot until the officials arrived. The crash is under investigation.

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