Student pilot, instructor injured after small plane crashes in Greenwood

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JOHNSON COUNTY (March 18, 2014) – A small plane crashed Tuesday morning in Greenwood, injuring a student pilot and his instructor.

According to the Greenwood Police Department, the 1976 Cessna single-engine plane went down just east of the airport in an empty field. A student pilot, 38-year-old Indianapolis resident Brent Abshier, and his instructor, 65-year-old Greenwood resident Dennis Rumley, were practicing maneuvers when the plane stalled and crashed. Rumley told authorities the engine lost power and the aircraft couldn’t maintain airspeed.

Greenwood police got the call about the downed plane at 10:43 a.m. after it crashed near County Line Road and Combs Road. It appeared that the plane’s wing touched down first, spinning the aircraft until it stopped in a nearby field. The front engine section broke and the tail snapped off during the crash.

Greenwood police said the student pilot and instructor were conscious and breathing when emergency crews arrived. Both were injured but are expected to be OK and walked off under their own power with medics. Rumley underwent surgery for a cut to his head. Abshier was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital.

“I think they are both probably feeling lucky to be alive,” said Greenwood Police Assistant Chief Matthew Fillenwarth. “Any time your plane drops out of the sky and you can be concious and live to talk about it, I think is a pretty good day on their part.”

Angelina Schmoll, who lives across the street from where the plane crashed, said she couldn’t believe the two men got up and walked away with help from medical crews.

“I mean the plane, the front end was gone,” she said. “I thought they were in critical condition. So I was really happy to see them get up and walk to the ambulance.”

Police said the instructor told them how to turn off the fuel to the plane, which was leaking heavily. Police said it was a “scary moment” until they were able to shut it off.
The plane was rented by Jeff Air Pilot services based out of the Greenwood airport. Owner Thomas Jeffries told FOX59 the instructor had been with him for more than two years and has more than 14,000 flight hours. He’s airline rated. He declined to release the names of the student or the instructor.

The plane has been part of the fleet for about a year and hasn’t had any problems in the past. Jeffries said he’s never had a plane crash while en route before.

Federal authorities will handle the investigation from here.

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