A 23-year-old woman was left in critical condition and three others were injured in a small plane crash in North Carolina.
The crash occurred at Gray’s Creek Airport near Fayetteville. Three of the four on board were students in a workforce development program, and aviation careers were the topic of the day’s demonstration.
Three of the injured were taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, with the woman in critical condition transferred to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. She is believed to have suffered brain damage, as well as neck and spine injuries, and broken bones.
Others aboard the Cessna 172 were an 18-year-old woman and two men, ages 19 and 24. The younger man was the pilot and flight instructor.
Authorities said the plane crashed into a field at the airport shortly after takeoff. The cause is under investigation.
In an interview with Raleigh television station WRAL, the younger woman said she hadn’t been on a plane before but she knew at once that the Cessna was in trouble.
“I think it was whenever we started taking off that stuff went wrong,” she said. “I just remember screaming because I knew something was wrong because we weren’t supposed to be that way in the air … like tilted,.”
She said she believed the pilot had temporarily handed over the controls to one of the students.
“I just know that the pilot that has his license said to the other one to let him take over, and I knew it was too late by then,” she said.
The younger woman remains hospitalized following abdominal surgery. She also had broken bones in her feet, facial injuries and injuries to her left hand.
The event, put on by the Cumberland County Workforce Development, was designed to give participants a chance to learn about careers as pilots and aircraft mechanics.
What was supposed to be a learning experience turned devastating for these young women. Their hospital costs will be extensive, and they and their families could need legal help in recouping some of their expenses.