Franklin County Plane Crash

By: Valerie Lacy
By: Valerie Lacy

1-15-07

A tiny plane, one wing torn off, half the propeller missing; it's hard to believe the pilot walked away.

During flight the Cessna's pilot reported a broken propeller. He called in for an emergency landing at Carrabelle's landing strip, but the plane never made it there.

Tall pine timbers snapped the plane's wing before it hit the runway. The pilot, Robert Noell, climbed out of the cockpit, bumped and bruised, but very much alive.

Robert Noell said, "Once I felt that gasoline drip down my neck I said it's time to get out of the airplane."

Noell's wife had just given him a Global Positioning Deice and he used it to navigate out of the woods and to the airport, but it wasn't easy going. There were no hiking trails, just waist high brush and a setting sun behind him.

Rescue crews gathered at the airstrip, but they needed help finding the plane.

OFC Caig Kincaid of the Carrabelle Police Department said, "FWC Officers were able to find the aircraft using their helicopter and we walked back there using GPS."

Noell found the rescuers, a Carrabelle police officer offered him a place to stay for the night, and the next day they all trekked back to the scene of the crash where Noell retrieved his belongings and his GPS, which happened to be a birthday present.

Noell said, "Certainly I'll fly again. I'm a much better pilot today than I was yesterday."

The pilot is heading back to Clearwater where he plans to finish celebrating his birthday.


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