TAPPAHANNOCK, Va. — A pilot of a small plane suffered serious, life-threatening injuries after Virginia State Police said his plane crashed into a ravine on the outskirts of the Tappahannock-Essex County Airport.
William D. Boswell IV, 25, of North Chesterfield, was extricated from the wreckage hours after the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the plane, a Cirrus SR22, crashed into a ravine near the airport at 3:44 a.m.
Officials at Tappahannock Airport said the plane was scheduled to fly from Richmond to Easton, Md. However, flight information on FlightAware.com indicated that the flight was scheduled from Richmond to Tappahannock.
An animation of the flight in question showed the plane departing from Richmond at 3:27 a.m. When it arrived near the Tappahannock airport, the plane is seen circling one-and-a-half times, with two dips in altitude, before the plane regains some height and the animated recording stops at 3:44 a.m., the same time the FAA said the crash happened.
The VSP said they were alerted to a distress call from a pilot at 4:23 a.m. and began a search effort to find the crashed plane. It added the plane was found around 6:13 a.m.
But the VSP said because the plane had crashed nose-down into a heavily-wooded area, rescue crews, including the Essex and King and Queen County Fire Departments, had a difficult time reaching the plane and Boswell.
The Henrico County Fire Department’s technical rescue team was brought in to assist with the rescue.
"Provide them with the equipment and the techniques to gain access to the patient and then get the patient out of the aircraft and then transport them across some pretty long and difficult terrain,” said Capt. Rob Rowley, public information officer for HFD. "So, what that looks like is tools, equipment, ropes, helping to set up pulley systems to help move the victim across the terrain and things of that nature.”
The VSP said rescuers were able to get Boswell out of the plane by approximately 9:30 a.m. and he was airlifted to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is also involved in the investigation. The cause of the crash is still unknown.
The airplane involved in the crash, a Cirrus SR22, is equipped with a parachute system. The parachute can be seen in pictures from the crash site, but it is unknown when, or if, the parachute system was deployed.
The plane involved in the crash is registered to an LLC based in Annapolis, Md. Attempts by CBS 6 to contact someone associated with the LLC have been unsuccessful.