A southeast Missouri man and his teenage grandson escaped serious injuries Tuesday afternoon, when their experimental plane crashed in Farmington. Festus resident Mike Dutton has a hangar at the airport, and was taking off at about 1:50 p.m. when the crash happened.
“We’re just making a normal takeoff and we lifted off and the plane did a sudden jaw,” Dutton says. “And wasn’t for sure what caused it, if it was the mechanical part of the plane or maybe a wind gust. I don’t think it was a wind gust because it’s pretty nice out. Lost lift and then touched back down and hit the tail and then bounced across the field here.”
Dutton spoke to Missourinet Farmington affiliate KREI Radio minutes after the crash.
“We’re both in good shape, so that’s what counts. We’re just glad it was no worse than what it is, right on takeoff for whatever reason it did what it did and got it back on the ground,” says Dutton. “And my grandson and I are just fine.”
Supertalk KREI Radio (AM 800) reports the plane has visible damage on nearly all sides, especially to the tail section. Dutton and his grandson sustained cuts and scrapes to their faces.
Farmington airport manager Chuck Sitzes says a full investigation will take place.
“We don’t know much, we’ll have to assess the situation. I didn’t see if happen, and the pilot’s not quite sure what happened either,” Sitzes says. “The plane’s dinged up pretty bad, as you can see, but luckily nobody’s hurt.”
Farmington is located in St. Francois County, about 70 miles south of St. Louis.
(KREI news director Luke Turnbough contributed to this story)