“I’m still alive,” was the first thought that came to Hinesville resident Steven Carter Tuesday evening after he crashed his small plane in a field about two mile off Pate Rogers Road in the Fleming community.
Carter, a private pilot, said he knew he was in trouble when the Cessna’s only engine began to cut off.
“It was a routine flight,” he said, “I was coming from Virginia and was going to land at Liberty County Airport until I had the problem.
“Luckily, we are trained to deal with these situations when you train to get your pilot’s license,” he said. “Honestly, the training kicked in. I just grabbed the checklist and went through (it) to see what you are supposed to do ... things like check fuel, check instruments, look for a field ... I radioed Savannah tower and let them know my situation.”
Carter said he relied on his training once again when he chose where to land.
“They train you to pick the nearest field and I didn’t have enough altitude to make Wright field so the field I landed in was the only option,” he said.
As the ground grew closer, Carter said he worked to land safely and thought of his children.
The plane flipped once and landed upside down, according to Liberty County Deputy Emergency Management Director David McIntosh.
“The seat belts did their thing. I was buckled in,” Carter said. “My one thought was I’m still alive. Wright tower sent an aircraft and within a couple of minutes they circled the field. I called 911 and gave them my location based on the GPS. I did not black out or anything. Other than a few scrapes and being sore, I’m OK.”
Asked if he would ever fly again, Carter said, “Definitely.” But he will need a new plane.
His Cessna 152 was totaled, he said, “so I’m working with the insurance companies now and I guess I’ll be getting a new one.”
Carter also credited those who responded to the incident.
“I wanted to thank everyone who responded from Wright tower to the EMS personnel, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the Coast Guard, Savannah tower ...” he said.
The Fleming Volunteer Fire Department also provided assistance at the crash site and the FAA investigated the incident.
Freelance writer Lewis Levine contributed to this article.