Pilot's quick thinking may have saved his life

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Some quick thinking by the pilot moments before the crash may have saved his life.

We spoke to a local pilot on scene that says where this plane landed shows you the pilot knew what he was doing.

Bob Hall was one of the first people on scene. He's a local pilot. He says the plane didn't land in the middle of the reservoir for a reason.

"He did the right thing," Hall said. "He's close to the shoreline which means if you have to get out, you have a short swim or walk to the shore if you're not in the middle of the lake."

The plane landed parallel to the shoreline, about 100 yards out into the water. Neighbors here say the water is only about five feet deep that close to the shore.

Hall says a lot of pilots learn to fly by traveling over the reservoir.

"They use this lake a lot as a reference for student pilot training," he said. "It's a short distance from Chesterfield Airport and it's easy to find from the air because it looks like a big L and you can find your way back."

One man who was nearby at the time says it happened so fast, he wasn't even sure what it was.

"I was inside working," said John Olive. "When I suddenly heard a whoosh sound and a loud impact, but I thought it was like a leaf blower or something going on in the neighborhood."

We're not sure how experienced this particular pilot is, but his quick thinking when his plane was in distress may have saved his life.

"He did what he was taught to do," Hall said. "If he was a student pilot or a trained pilot or whatever, they did what they were supposed to do."

Crews on scene are making sure there's no fuel leaking from the plane. Police and fire hope to have the plane out of the water tonight.

State Police say the plane will be taken to the Chesterfield County Airport where the investigation will continue.

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