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Man escapes injury in single-engine plane crash

April 16, 2012

INWOOD, W.Va. — A man escaped injury Monday afternoon when his single-engine aircraft crashed in a farm field west of Inwood, a Berkeley County emergency dispatcher said.

The initial call for the plane crash in a field near the intersection of National Fruit and Goldmiller roads came at about 3:29 p.m., the dispatcher said.

By the time emergency crews arrived, the pilot had crawled out of the wreck with just cuts and bruises, said Rick Petry, chief of South Berkeley Volunteer Fire Co.

Petry said the pilot was “very lucky” to emerge unscathed from the wreck. The plane had engine trouble while flying over Gerrardstown, W.Va., shortly after taking off in Martinsburg, he said.

The plane landed in a newly planted apple orchard, Petry said.

“The farmers and stuff were still out there in the fields,” he said.

After realizing the plane was going down, the pilot spotted the field and tried to safely land the plane. The plane touched down on the ground once or twice before the front wheels got caught in a ditch, causing the plane to roll onto its roof, Petry said.

The propeller was destroyed, the front and rear wings were heavily damaged, and fuel was leaking from the plane, Petry said.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department was contacted to conduct an investigation, he said.

Crews were on the scene for about an hour, Petry said.

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— C.J. Lovelace

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