Pilot crawls out, calls authorities after plane crashes outside Athens home

Aircraft lost power shortly after takeoff, came to rest upside down

An injured pilot managed to call authorities after a single-engine plane crashed and was upside down behind a home in Athens on Thursday afternoon, officials said.

The pilot and a passenger suffered minor injuries after the aircraft, a Piper PA-24-260 Comanche, crashed around 1:30 p.m. in a wooded area off Shoal Creek Drive, near Athens-Ben Epps Airport, according to Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services.

Officials said the pilot reported being in distress when the plane lost power shortly after takeoff, and attempts to circle back to the airport for an emergency landing were unsuccessful. Officials noted that efforts by the pilot to call authorities after the crash “provided responders with a better location of the crash site.”

By the time emergency crews and vehicles responded to the site, the pilot and passenger had crawled out of the aircraft, which had a small amount of fuel that leaked from a ruptured tank, according to officials.

Firefighters disconnected the power to the plane and used specialized foam to lessen the vapors that leaked from the ruptured tank. No fire was reported, officials said.

Both the pilot and passenger were not publicly identified.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.