THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Saturday, August 20, 1994 TAG: 9408200262 SECTION: LOCAL PAGE: B3 EDITION: VIRGINIA SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS DATELINE: ROANOKE LENGTH: Medium: 52 lines
A small airplane crashed on a golf course Friday when it lost power after takeoff and attempted to return to Roanoke Regional Airport, killing two people, injuring another and narrowly missing a golfer.
The single-engine Piper Cherokee had flown perhaps four miles when it developed engine trouble and circled about, said John Hinkle, flight control tower manager at the airport.
The private plane hit a cherry tree at 3:17 p.m. just off the 13th fairway of Countryside Golf Course, within sight of the airport about a mile away, witnesses said.
All three people aboard the plane were from Pennsylvania, but their identities were not immediately available, said Virginia State Police Sgt. V.C. Jones.
A woman who died at the scene and a man who died in surgery at Roanoke Memorial Hospital were both ejected from the plane, Jones said. The plane's third occupant, a man, was treated for injuries at the hospital, but his condition was not immediately known.
The plane had flown from Greensboro, N.C., to Roanoke, refueled and resumed its flight to Pittsburgh, Hinkle said.
Golfer Ray Goins of Roanoke had just teed off on No. 13 and said he was 50 feet from the cherry tree when the plane passed just overhead and crashed, scattering wreckage 30 to 50 yards along the course.
``I didn't know what was happening. There was debris flying all around. There was a shattering sound,'' Goins said. ``It nosed into the ground and spun around. It was awful.''
He said he attempted to pry open the canopy where one passenger screamed, ``Get me out of here.''
Jim Kerney said he was playing golf when he heard a sputtering noise overhead and looked upward. ``He was going like this,'' Kerney said, his arms held out like airplane wings and rocking them in a seesaw motion.
``He looked like he was going to avoid that tree, then he hit it. It took his wings off and he went straight into the ground,'' Kerney said.
The club closed holes 10 through 18, but golfers continued to play nearby on the front nine holes.
David Kile, a lifeguard at the Countryside pool, said he saw the plane hover about 100 feet above the golf course. He said the pilot appeared to be aiming for an emergency landing in an open fairway.
KEYWORDS: ACCIDENT TRAFFIC by CNB