Plane Makes Emergency Landing on Beach, Killing Man (HH, SC)

Aweful. A terrible story just breaking from Hilton Head, SC:

A plane made an emergency landing on the beach at Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head Island today around 6:10 p.m., hitting a man on the beach and killing him, according to an official with the Hilton Head Fire and Rescue Division.
Division spokeswoman Joheida Fister said the male pilot and male passenger of the small plane left Orlando, Fla., at 4:45 p.m. headed to Virginia when they began having engine trouble. They decided to try to land at Hilton Head Airport. Oil began to leak onto the windshield at around 13,000 feet, blocking their vision, Fister said.
They decided to land on the beach. During the landing at around 6:10 p.m., a propeller came off.
At the same time a man walking or jogging on the beach was hit by the plane and died. The pilot and passenger were not injured and were still on the scene at 8 p.m. No other injuries were reported.
The landing occurred north of the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa at Palmetto Dunes near Armada Street.
The tide has been coming in, and firefighters have tied a rope to the plane to try to prevent it from being washed out to sea.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are on the way to the scene, authorities said. … ilton.html … /KORL/KHXD

Edit: Very morbid, but a pic posted on CNN of plane and victim on beach:

Wow. R.I.P.

I wonder if he was facing the plane when he got hit or if he noticed it at all.

Partly off-track here but, is the plane any good? We had a plane land here in a salt pond a few months ago and I had always meant to ask what good would the plane be if its sat in salt water for some couple hours. My guess is that the plane would be written off or very close to written off.

Even if the plane could be repaired, I don’t know if I’d want it back for several reasons, a salt bath only being one of them. That’d be like driving around in Christine. I wonder how that happened - however though, that is one of the worst things I’ve read lately, and local for me too.

Is that a kit plane/home built?

The lawyers already have wood.

RIP to the man on the beach.

With any luck he was facing away and never saw it coming.


Looks like he came down from 13000 feet in about 5 minutes, that Lancair did not glide very well.

They certainly aren’t known for it.

Lancair kits

Local News Video

My hometown!

Trying to get my friends/family to get more shots of the NTSB on scene.

What i’m wondering is if the pilot had the whole beach to land on…how did he manage to hit the only person on it?


My hometown!

Trying to get my friends/family to get more shots of the NTSB on scene.

What i’m wondering is if the pilot had the whole beach to land on…how did he manage to hit the only person on it?


HILTON HEAD – A 38-year-old jogger from Georgia is dead after a single-engine plane making an emergency landing hit him as he ran on a South Carolina beach listening to his iPod.
The coroner said Tuesday that Robert Gary Jones of Woodstock, Ga., apparently did not hear the troubled plane that struck him from behind on Hilton Head Island The plane had lost its propeller and the pilot’s vision was blocked by oil on the windshield.
Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen says he plans to conduct an autopsy. He says Jones was married and had two children.
Hilton Head fire and rescue spokeswoman Joheida Fister says the identities of the pilot and a passenger on the Experimental Lancair IV-P plane were not released. They were not injured.
The plane left Orlando at 4:45 p.m. and was headed for Virginia, Fister said. The four-seater plane has a turbine engine, can be built from a kit and can fly up to 370 mph, according to the Lancair Web site. The IV-P model has a pressurized cabin.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Fister said. A call late Monday to an FAA spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

You see this is why I don’t think jogging with an Ipud on is a good idea. When I see these jagoffs jogging with the wires hanging from their ears, I’m thinking that it’s an accident waiting to happen. This dude might have been able to jump out of the way had he HEARD IT COMING! His family will probably sue AAPL. Sad.

Agree… however…

If such the case they can add Apple or whatever manufacturer to the list of companies to sue for not listing the dangers of the inability of hearing airplanes fall out of the sky. :unamused:


Cause of death, hit by airplane. Case closed, tax dollars saved. Geez…

I’m sure there will inevitably be a lawsuit, but who to blame? On one hand, you have a pilot that had engine trouble, declared an emergency, lost his prop, has oil covering his windshield, has little visibility and picked a beach (which most would assume is the best choice in that scenario) to put the plane down. I can’t really see how the pilot can be faulted in his actions. In the other sense, you have a recreational jogger, listening to his ipod while running on the beach and was hit by a silent glider from behind - he can’t really be faulted either. No doubt that money is going to change hands, but how can either of them be to blame. It’s terrible, but sometimes unfortunate accidents just happen. Now they’re going to start making car horns mandatory on GA planes. The only way I can see someone being liable is if that prop was serviced lately - that would explain the oil and losing the prop in flight. If so, whoever worked on it needs to get the hell out of the country because a storm is brewing.

And you’re right Allen - blunt force trauma to the head/body I’m sure. The coroner in Beaufort probably doesn’t have alot going on though and may be required to do an autopsy when a death occurs in an accident like that, regardless of what he already knows. Plus, he draws a salary, so he gets paid whether he’s working or not.

Very sad…for all involve. Imagine the elation of finding an emergency landing area such as this beach enroute, after your field of vision being impaired by oil…not knowing if the next thing on the list of events is an inflight fire, getting down PDQ was thier priority. Then after executing the touchdown phase and that happy butterfly feeling in your stomach that you made it immediately crash from knowing you just killed an innocent civilian. Very sad. And the way our society/ambulance chasers are, It wouldnt surprise me if Involuntary Manslaughter charges are brought up. In which case I sincerely hope not. But we all know how it is. Another bullet against GA.

A metal aircraft I would definitely consider a write off after a salt water bath, but the Lancair is primarily composite. Do composites stand up to salt water better or worse than metal. Obviously the engine, electronics, and instruments will likely be junk, but I do wonder about the airframe.

As to the death, it is sad that in our country every death leads to lawsuits and court cases. No longer does anyone die just by accident, someone always has to be blamed.

DUH, Deef said the same thing. Didn’t realize AAPL was the stock symbol for Apple until re-reading my response.

Did a bit of searching, appears that a composite airframe would be unaffected but I’m sure there’s some critical metal bits keeping the whole thing together that would be affected.

In the article it said “During the landing at around 6:10 p.m., a propeller came off.”

I guess it came off when the plane hit the beach.

Seems pretty cut-and-dried to me. Although the pilot certainly did not intend to kill the jogger, he did, and will be held accountable in a civil suit. Accidental or not has nothing to do with it. Most times “accidents” are the result of reckless behavior. The pilot was thinking only of his own life and that of his passenger. By landing on a beach, where people often do gather, he was acting recklessly towards their safety, especially if his vision was blocked as he has stated.

EDIT: Let me temper this by also repeating that had the jogger not been wearing an MP3 player, he may have heard the plane and been able to react.

Pic of them moving the accident aircraft:

More pics at