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Small plane lands in Berkeley County hay field

May 30, 2002|by SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A small, single-engine plane went down in a hay field in Berkeley County on Wednesday afternoon due to what the pilot said was engine failure.

There were no serious injuries resulting from the incident.

Andy Bell of Gaithersburg, Md., was on his way to Warrenton, Va., from Hagerstown Regional Airport when the engine failed in his Beech 35 aircraft.

"I tried to restart it. I did everything I was trained to do," which included finding a place to land, he said.

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Bell glided the plane into a hay field owned by John Welsh off Greensburg Road in Berkeley County, about five miles east of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Bell said he initially wanted to land on the road but a minivan on the road changed his mind.

When asked if he was frightened at the prospect of crashing from 4,000 feet, he said, "The thing is, airplanes are gliders with engines. Engines are just extra."

Bell suffered only a minor injury to his left index finger.

Federal Aviation Administration agents arrived to inspect the aircraft and determine what caused the plane to be forced down.

Members of the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene.

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