No one injured in plane crash near high school

No one injured in plane crash near high school
The plane crashed onto a field at Highland Springs High School. (Source: wariddle/Twitter)
The plane crashed onto a field at Highland Springs High School. (Source: wariddle/Twitter)

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A plane that crashed Wednesday afternoon near Highland Springs High School originated from Ontario, Canada, Virginia State Police said.

Police were called to the scene in the 00 block of S. Oak Street just before 1:30 p.m. for an accident involving a plane that came in contact with a power line as it tried to make an emergency landing.

No injuries were reported in the plane or on the ground. The pilot was the only person in the plane.

Many people were stunned to see the plane on the high school baseball field, more than 100 yards from the school, but relieved it didn't crash into the school or any of the homes in the area.

"Obviously that person was very well trained and knew what they were doing in order to avoid injuring anyone else," said Dennis Burton, who lives nearby.

State Police said the 55-year-old pilot from Ontario, Canada had left Wednesday morning and was flying to Richmond International Airport.

He had gotten clearance to land when he encountered some sort of engine failure, which led to the emergency landing on the baseball field.

"[I saw] all these people gathering and stuff and that's when I looked over in the ball field and saw a portion of the airplane sitting there," Burton said.

"It's shocking," said Ryan Sullivan, who also lives nearby. "You don't see that every day."

Sullivan was outside with his friends, jumping on the trampoline, when he heard the plane coming in and hit powerlines nearby.

He said he was stunned by how low the plane was to begin with.

"That was way beyond low," Sullivan added. "It was right there! If I jumped on the trampoline [I could have touched it]!"

"I was at home watching the Simpsons and all I heard was a loud bang!" said Kevin Jones, of Highland Springs. "Then the power went out. It's crazy."

Nearly 6,000 power outages were reported by Dominion Energy following the crash, but most of those customers had their power quickly restored.

The situation also drew dozens of onlookers to the high school.

"It's pretty wild," Burton said. "It's like you've got to be kidding me."

"Anything can happen anywhere," Sullivan added.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation by Virginia State Police. The FAA and NTSB have both been notified about the incident.

STUDENTS IMPACTED BY CRASH

Dozens of parents flooded Highland Springs High School after news of the plane crash had spread. Many of them hoped to get their kids out of school immediately, but when they got there, they found the school was on lock down.

Shanta Jefferies 17-year-old son is a senior at Highland Springs High School. She rushed to the school to pick him up.

"He texted me at 1:39 and said 'Mom, a plane crashed in the baseball field,'" Jefferies said. "I said I'm on my way, you need to come to me ... come to the front of the school. A teacher walked him down to me and we were face to face at the door and they wouldn't let him out."

"One thing you don't do in school system, is open doors and make it a free for all, so you have to spend time to make sure you come up with a safe and orderly plan," said Andy Jenks, director of Communications for the Henrico County Public School District.

That plan was to keep the kids inside of the school until normal dismissal time, 3:55 p.m. Since the power was off inside of the school, it was very hot, so students were kept in cool spaces and were provided water bottles from staff. The school district also said they monitored the temperature inside of the building.

"I think it's a smart move they are not letting them out because the severity of it," said Brenda Carter whose grandson is a freshman at Highland Springs. "They got live wires. To protect those kids, I think its a smart move they made."

Brenda Carter's grandson, who is in ninth grade, was inside of Highland Springs. She also lives right across the street and heard the plane go down. Carter's power went off too. She is thankful for the pilot of that plane.

"I think he's smart," Carter said. "I think when he realized he was in trouble. I think he made some good decisions and because of that he saved a lot of people."

At first, no parent was allowed to take their child out of school. However, around 3:30 p.m. the school district said parents who follow the normal early dismissal procedures, could do so.

According to Jenks, nothing is damaged besides the baseball field and some nearby power lines.

The power has since been restored and school will start on time Thursday.

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