CENTERBURG — A small plane with two people aboard was forced to land in a cornfield near Centerburg Wednesday afternoon when it apparently ran out of gas.
Both men were unhurt, except for a slight scratch on the pilot’s chin, and the plane appeared slightly damaged.
Pilot Doug Whittenburg of Cincinnati said, “The gauge said we had gas, but we didn’t.”
In that situation, he said, you have to “fly it all the way down.” If you don’t and the plane spins, he added, you crash.
“We had a good view of the area so we circled and came in. I didn’t want to land on the road because of the wires,” Whittenburg said. “It’s better to sacrifice the plane than to get someone hurt.”
The plane, a two-seated Piper Tomahawk, came down in an uncut cornfield about 500 yards behind 2191 Barnes Road.
The Ohio Highway Patrol and the Central Ohio Joint Fire District kept anyone from approaching the plane until investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration in Columbus completed their investigation at the site.
“This is not the way I expected to spend the day,” said Jeff Hirsch of Cincinnati, the passenger in the plane. He said they were planning to stop in Knox County, then go on to Greenville, Pa.
Lindsay Sands was not at home when the plane came down. “I found out about it when everyone started calling me at work and saying a plane was down at my place,” she said.
A farmer cut a path through the tall corn back to the plane and a state trooper said the wing would probably be removed and the plane taken out on a flatbed truck after the FAA completed looking into the incident.
The pilot did a good job of bringing the plane down, Chief Joe Porter of the Central Ohio Joint Fire District observed. “It was fortunate no one was hurt.”