plane crash

Crossville firefighters are pictured at the scene of a plane crash Saturday near Crossville Memorial Airport and the Cumberland County Playhouse. The 79-year-old pilot walked away with only a laceration to his head.

A pilot was able to walk away from the wreckage of his light plane Saturday with minor injuries and a police officer was slightly injured rushing to help the downed pilot, according to reports.

Jim Stanley, 79, of Crossville, suffered a minor laceration to his head when the single-engine 1946 ER Coupe plummeted into a wooded area less than 100 yards from the south driveway of the Cumberland County Playhouse. There was no fire.

Airport Manager Norm Westerbuhr said Monday Stanley was alright. "We still don't know what caused the engine to quit," Westerbuhr said.

A nearby resident, Gordon Atcheley, witnessed the plane going down and rushed to the scene while another resident called 911 to report the crash.

John Partyka, on the staff at the Playhouse, was working in the shop when he and others heard the crash. "There wasn't any sound from the plane," Partyka said. "We heard what sounded like three or four trees breaking and coming down and ran out to see what had happened."

Partyka, the neighbor and others from the Playhouse rushed to the crash site and assisted Stanley out of the cockpit and onto the ground. He then walked out of the wooded ravine. Witnesses said Stanley first declined medical attention but later was talked into going to the Cumberland Medical Center emergency room to be checked.

Stanley told Partyka that the plane's engine suddenly kicked off and that he was gliding toward the airport in an effort to make the runway. The plane fell short but Stanley turned the ignition off which prevented the loss of fuel and possible fire as a result of the impact.

Crossville Police Officer Ronnie Schubert received a minor knee injury when he rushed to the scene to assist the pilot and check on the crash.

The site was quickly taped off as local emergency workers waited for an investigator from the Federal Aviation Administration to arrive from Cookeville and Sunday the plane was dismantled and removed from the thickly wooded area.

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