Pilot in 'stable' condition after Ultralight plane crashes in Lenoir

Published: Dec. 13, 2015 at 11:22 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2016 at 11:22 PM EST
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(Source: June Smith)
(Source: June Smith)
(Courtesy of Caldwell Journal)
(Courtesy of Caldwell Journal)

LENOIR, NC (WBTV) - The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office says an ultralight plane crashed in Lenoir Sunday night.

The crash reportedly happened near Lower Creek Airfield in Lenoir. Caldwell County Emergency Management got the call about the crash on Blue Sky Lane at 5:24 p.m.

Caldwell County officials say the aircraft crashed in the woods just short of the nearby airstrip.

Caldwell County Emergency Services Director Dino Dibernardi said the pilot was removed from the wreckage by firefighters and taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital. From there the pilot was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

The pilot's grandfather, June Smith, said his grandson is in stable condition at the hospital. Smith said it still isn't clear how Ben Proffit's plane crashed in a Lenoir backyard.

"It just devastated me. It's hard to put in words," said Smith regarding the crash.

The aircraft crashed in the woods behind Rufus McCrary's home. He said he rushed to help the pilot.

"I smelled fuel when I got there so I had to get that away from him then started cutting the parachute cords wrapped around him," explained McCrary.

The Lenoir resident said he then called 911 and wasn't sure Proffit would survive the crash. The pilot's grandfather hopes he will be able to fly again.

"His first love was flying and hopefully he recovers," said Smith.

Smith said his 22-year-old grandson currently has a fractured jawbone, fractured pelvis, and a concussion.

The FAA is investigating the crash.

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