A personal aircraft piloted by a 65-year-old Mississippi man crashed at Conway Municipal Airport around noon Wednesday.
Conway police said Robert Allen of Oxford, Miss. was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon after being flown via air ambulance to UAMS Medical Center.
The plane, a single-engine Cessna 210, crashed with its tail end in the air at the west side of the airport near the corner of Ingram and Sixth streets.
According to a preliminary report with the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane’s engine lost power shortly after departure.
Chris Thornton, principal broker at J.C. Thornton and Co., witnessed the accident.
Thornton leases an office on the second floor of the airport.
“I heard he lost his engine for at least a little while there, and I think it started back at least momentarily. I wasn’t where I could listen anymore because I was running,” Thornton said. “I saw him make a hard bank after he crossed over the end of the runway and try to make it back to the airport. Basically everyone at the airport jumped in to try to do what we could do.”
Thornton said he and about six others reached the plane just after it crashed and attempted to help Allen. One of the six called 9-1-1 he said.
La Tresha Woodruff, public information officer for the Conway Police Department, said Allen was the sole occupant of the plane.
Allen was removed from the plane by emergency responders at about 12:40 p.m.
Conway Fire Chief Bart Castleberry said Allen had to be removed from the wreckage using Holmatro rescue tools.
“He was trapped significantly. It took a pretty good while to get him disentangled,” Castleberry said.
Jim West, of Conway Corp., said there were no damages to nearby utilities in the crash.
Thornton said Allen periodically uses the airport.
“I don’t know him, but his plane is one of my favorite makes and models. I’ve admired it from time to time,” he said.
The FAA lists the plane as destroyed.
An investigation into the crash is being conducted, according to FAA public affairs manager Lynn Lunsford.
“These investigations typically take several weeks to several months to complete,” Lunsford said.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)