YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — A local pilot is recovering at the UC Davis Medical Center after a fiery plane crash.
It happened Sunday morning along the Yuba River, just East of Marysville.
The pilot, 66-year old Timothy Bennett, was on a scenic flight path when he flew into a power line. Two California Highway Patrol flight officers responded to the scene and rescued Bennett.
The officers say he is incredibly fortunate to be alive. “He had a severely broken deviated left ankle, he had scrapes and burns on his face,” said Officer Monty Emery with the California Highway Patrol. It was a fiery crash, that had Emery and his partner flying to Browns Valley before even being dispatched. “We immediately found the aircraft in the water,” Emery said.
In it was 66-year old Timothy Bennett signaling to the officers for help. “He went across the water to make contact with the pilot then assisted him out of the aircraft onto the left wing, slid him out of the water and started to carry him across the river,” said Emery, referring to his partner, Officer Hallam. Emery says Bennett had taken off from the Lincoln Airport Sunday morning to enjoy a scenic flight over the Yuba River. Emery says the pilot may have not seen the low hanging power lines as he was flying over Sycamore Ranch, bear Browns Valley.
“Wires kill more pilots than anything they’re there you can’t see them that well,” Emery added. Bennett was “bush flying” in his Cubcrafters CC11-160. He was flying low, when he struck the power lines and his plane caught fire.
Emery says landing in the Yuba River saved Bennett’s life. “Had he had a hard landing, it could have been a lot worse I think,” Emery said.
It’s a warning for pilots to scan the skies, and never let their guard down.
Officer Emery says there were four pilot deaths last year related to recreational flying.
Bennett’s plane will be recovered from the Yuba River Monday morning.