LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Further information has been released in connection to the Catawba River plane landing last week between York and Lancaster counties.
The surprise landing occurred at 10:41 a.m. Friday, May 5, on the Catawba River near the Sun City community. As emergency personnel arrived, they saw the plane, a single-engine Aeronca Champion, upside down about 30 yards from the shoreline in a shallow section of the river.
The pilot and passenger, who are both licensed pilots, had escaped from the small plane and waded to shore before first responders arrived in the area, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Both were OK and declined treatment from EMS.
“The fuselage of the aircraft was mostly above water due to the river only being about one to two feet deep in that area,” the Sheriff’s Office explained.
According to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the two pilots, identified as Kyle Stubbs and his passenger, Matthew McFaden, flew together often and had rented the small aircraft from a flying school that Stubbs attended, Aerowood Aviation out of Monroe, North Carolina.
Stubbs told authorities they had taken off from Monroe and were headed to Lancaster when the engine failed for a yet undetermined reason.
“Kyle glided the aircraft without power as best he could and determined the river to be the safest place to ground the aircraft,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Fire & Rescue was able to float the aircraft down river to a kayak landing within the Sun City community. From there, the small plane was accessible to a flat bed to recover the wreckage.
The Sheriff’s Office said no crime occurred in this incident and the NTSB will be investigating.