Pilot seriously injured as plane crashes near Lake Afton

A 48-year-old Wichita man was in serious condition Friday after crashing a single-engine Cessna in a field near 55th South and 231st West.

The plane went down not far from the Lake Waltanna Airport, southeast of Lake Afton.

The man took off from a private field just north of 55th, but the plane was traveling at a low speed and barely cleared power lines nearby. The plane then lost altitude and its left wing struck the ground, causing it to flip, said Capt. George Mason of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.

The plane landed upside down and the man was briefly trapped, but rescue workers found him conscious and talking. He was airlifted to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis.

Francis Rausch, who witnessed the crash as he was grading a nearby road, said the plane never gained much altitude.

He said he called 911, and the owner of the airfield rushed out to help the pilot but was unable to get the pilot out of the cockpit.

Mason said the Sheriff's Office was turning the investigation over to the Federal Aviation Administration.