FAA investigating cause of plane’s crash landing into York County river

A small plane crash landed in the Catawba River on Friday morning.
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 11:14 AM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - A plane crashed into the Catawba River in S.C. on Friday morning. Both the York County Sheriff’s Office and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and the two people onboard, a pilot and passenger, escaped without any significant injuries.

“A small plane went down in the Catawba River adjacent to Sun City Carolina Lakes Friday morning, May 5, 2023. Deputies of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched and responded to the area surrounding the ballfields and the community garden off Sun City Boulevard at about 10:30 a. m. This is the area closest to the section of the river where the plane was located. Personnel of Lancaster County Fire and Rescue also responded,” according to a press release from the LCSO.

The cause of the crash has not been released but the LCSO said the plane was not owned by the pilot or passenger.

“The plane was rented. It flipped onto its top when it hit the water and came to rest in shallow water fairly close to the bank. It was occupied by two people, both of whom escaped the plane and made it to the bank a short distance away,” according to the LCSO.

A small plane crash landed on the Catawba River on Friday morning.
A small plane crash landed on the Catawba River on Friday morning.(Lee Stikeleather/WBTV)

Law enforcement said the incident could have been much worse and the investigation into the cause of the crash is now in the hands of the FAA.

“We are very thankful there were no serious injuries in this mishap,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “If conditions like location along the river or depth of the water at that spot had been different, the outcome might have been much worse. The FAA will investigate this crash, and inquiries concerning it should be directed to the FAA.”

The York County Sheriff’s Office also responded and first put the news on social media before 11 a.m. Friday.

“Deputies and emergency personnel are in the area of Charlie Horse Ln. in Rock Hill for reports of an airplane that has landed in the Catawba River,” the YCSO wrote in social media posts.

“We are told the pilot and passenger are OK and out of the plane. The aircraft is still in the river towards the Lancaster County side. The FAA has been notified and has taken over the investigation,” the YCSO said in an update.