Nikki Womack was talking with her daughter in their front room Friday afternoon when they saw a plane fly very low over their neighbor’s house.
She ran to the back window just in time to see the plane crash on the 14th hole at the Tallgrass Country Club behind the house.
“I thought maybe it would flip, but it just hit real softly, pretty much,” she said. “It kind of bounced up” as it scraped through a sand trap and came to rest just short of the green.
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Womack ran outside to see whether she could help, dialing 911 on the way. The occupants of the plane were two teenagers.
“A younger male got out first, and he was bleeding from the top of his head, but he was talking and looked me in the eye,” she said. “And then a girl got out behind him and she was bleeding and her eye was pretty damaged, but she was talking and walking.
I said ‘911’s on their way, you’re OK, you didn’t hit any houses, just lay there, it’s OK, nobody else is hurt. Just wait for them to get here.’
Nikki Womack, who witnessed the crash and called 911
“I said ‘lay down, lay down,’ so they both laid down, and I had 911 on the phone and I said ‘911’s on their way, you’re OK, you didn’t hit any houses, just lay there, it’s OK, nobody else is hurt. Just wait for them to get here.’ ”
Wichita Police Lt. Paul Duff said the pilot was a 17-year-old male and the passenger was an 18-year-old woman. He said the plane was en route from Nashville, Tenn., to Jabara Airport, which is just northeast of the crash site.
The pilot and passenger were transported to Wesley Medical Center for treatment, a Sedgwick County dispatcher said. One had potentially serious injuries, while the other person’s injuries were less serious.
The crash was reported at 3:25 p.m. at the course next to 21st and Webb Road. Ambulances and firetrucks were sent to the scene, and police closed the neighborhood to traffic as a precaution.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, Duff said.
The airplane, a 1966 single-engine Mooney, is owned by Sabris Corp.
Sabris owner David Dewhirst said the airplane was one of his company’s rentals and was on approach for landing at Jabara Airport.
“The report is he had an engine failure … and could not make it to the airport,” Dewhirst said. “But we’ve probably totaled an airplane.”
Denise Bennett and her daughter Riley didn’t see the crash, but they did hear the engine. They’re used to aircraft noise, living so close to the airport for the past six years, but they said this time it was louder and closer.
“It sounded like a plane that was landing, but it also sounded like it was just above the house,” Riley Bennett said.
I’m glad we weren’t having a 75-degree day and golfers out here.
Mike Colestock, golf course superintendent
Mike Colestock, the golf course superintendent, said nobody was playing the 14th hole when the plane came down.
He said it was lucky the day was cold, wet and windy after weeks of unusually good golfing weather for this time of year.
“Nobody was around,” he said. “I’m glad we weren’t having a 75-degree day and golfers out here.”
Contributing: Jerry Siebenmark and Stan Finger of The Eagle