BY JOSEPH BUSTOS, KAVAHN MANSOURI, HANA MUSLIC, AND LEXI CORTES

WATERLOO

Three people, including a toddler, were pulled from the wreckage of a small plane, which crashed Tuesday afternoon northeast of Waterloo.

A woman and child were pulled from the wreckage. A man later was freed. 

Emergency responders were on the scene where the plane carrying the three people crashed at the intersection of Floraville and Gilmore Lake roads. The plane was upside down when it came to a rest.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Major Jim Lansing said injuries sustained are not life-threatening and added that the adult female and male were taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the boy was taken to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

He described the man and woman as being in their mid-50s and said the boy was 4 years old. All three individuals were responsive and talking after being pulled from the wreckage.

Lansing said the woman in the plane told authorities that a warning light went off and oil was spewing onto the windshield, and they couldn’t see anymore. The engine also may have died, he said, but he wasn’t sure.

The pilot circled a few times and may have been trying to land on the road. The plane clipped a tree on its descent, Lansing said.

The plane crashed into Trin Daws’ yard. He’s a Waterloo police sergeant who was off-duty at the time. He said he got home right after the plane crashed and ran to it.

Daws said he and another unidentified man heard a young boy screaming. The two broke the windows of the plane with a fire extinguisher that had ejected from the plane.

“It was really disturbing to hear a child screaming in there,” Daws said.

The boy was in a child car seat when Daws and the other man pulled him from the wreckage. The empty car seat sat at the scene after he had been taken to a hospital.

A preliminary statement from the Federal Aviation Association said the fixed wing single-engine Piper PA-32 was on its way to St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.

“It breaks my heart there’s a baby seat over there,” said Lynn Kalbfleisch, who lives nearby the crash site.

The plane is registered to an individual from Fairhope, Alabama. FAA investigators were on the scene of the crash site, and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

An Arch Rescue helicopter responded to the crash site and airlifted the male pilot, Lansing said.

Daws said it was luck that he and others were able to be on the scene so quickly. 

“A lot of us were in the right place,” Daws said.

Sherry Evans, of Columbia, saw the plane before it crashed Tuesday as she drove to Waterloo to pick up her daughter from school. She said that area will often see small “crop dusters” overhead, but the way the plane was flying Tuesday was “abnormal,” according to Evans.

It was flying low and slow, and Evans said she saw it turn to the left sharply before she lost sight of it below the treeline. She didn’t witness the crash, but she did see the aftermath as she drove by.

“It was very alarming because it just looked like a pile of metal,” she said. “It was upside down, compacted.”

She started praying.

“There’s no words to see something like that, let alone be someone going through something like that. By the grace of God, it went a lot better than one would assume by looking at the wreckage,” Evans said.

https://www.bnd.com/news/local/article227474669.html