Minor injuries reported as plane flips at Worthington airport
By Aaron Hagen
Forum News Service
WORTHINGTON, Minn. -- Only minor injuries were reported after an airplane went off the runway Monday evening at the Worthington Municipal Airport. The plane came to rest upside down off one of the runways.
“He just was landing and the plane veered off to the left and it took him off the runway,” said Cameron Johnson, the fixed base operator at the airport. “He got into some deep snow and it just caused the airplane to flip over.
“Everybody’s OK,” Johnson said. “There was a pilot and a passenger, and the passenger had a cut on his tongue. But other than that, they were fine.”
Johnson, who declined to name the pilot and passenger, said it is not a common occurrence for airplanes.
“I can think of maybe one other time it’s happened in the 12 years I’ve been here,” he said. “It’s like a car goes in the ditch, it’s the same sort of deal. That happens all the time going down the interstate, but it’s a little more uncommon with airplanes, so everybody thinks, ‘Oh, my.’
“It’s the same sort of deal, a little swerve and all of a sudden you are off to the side and you’re in deep snow. It’s just like a car -- it happens all the time in the winter around here, but not so often with airplane.”
The plane was still in its resting position Tuesday afternoon, but Johnson said it will be flipped back onto its wheels and rolled into the shop as soon as possible.
“It was a little windy -- it’s a pretty light aircraft and a pretty small airplane,” Johnson said. “We’re just waiting for a day when it’s a little less windy, and we’ll get out there and flip it back over on its wheels and roll it into the hangar and see what needs to happen next to repair it or total it.”
Johnson said that before they could touch the plane — which is based out of Worthington — the Federal Aviation Administration had to inspect the site.
“When something like this happens, we’re required to report it to the FAA,” Johnson said. “The FAA comes out and looks at it and they do an inspection of the records and the pilot’s record and that sort of stuff, just to make sure everything was kosher as far as that’s concerned. Then you’re technically not allowed to move or mess with the airplane until they have been here.
“The FAA was here (Tuesday),” Johnson continued. “They did look at it and they said, ‘You guys are free to go ahead and move it.’ As long as its not obstructing any of the runways or taxiways or any of the other operations at the airport, they said to do it at a time that is best as far as the wind and weather and whatnot.”
Johnson said it’s tough to determine the amount of damage to the plane.
“There is some obvious things, but it’s tough to tell what extent until we get in there and start looking at stuff,” he said.
Johnson anticipates being able to look at the aircraft in the coming days. However, he will take caution when flipping the plane.
“A lot of times what happens is when something like this happens is people get in there and they actually do more damage to the airplane trying to get it back up on its wheels or back onto a trailer or whatever they need to do than actually happened to the airplane in the incident in the first place,” Johnson said. “... It’s just a matter of getting it into the shop and taking a look at it and figuring out if we’re able to fix and repair it.”