By Charles Sullivan, Mike Brantley, Digital Content Producer and Tyler Fingert, FOX10 News Reporter
BALDWIN COUNTY, AL (WALA) –
A small plane crashed Saturday morning in the Bon Secour area in south Baldwin County, killing two people who were aboard.
Sheriff Hoss Mack said the Baldwin County 911 Operations Center received a report of a plane possibly crashing in the Bon Secour area at about 10:15 a.m. The Foley Fire Department and the Foley Police Department arrived on scene to find a single-engine aircraft down in the sod field.
The Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene.
“Further investigation revealed two individuals still in the aircraft,” Mack said. “Both individuals were pronounced dead at the scene. Their names are not being released at this time pending notification of next of kin.”
Mack said the accident was witnessed and that it appeared the plane was attempting to pick up an advertisement banner and got into distress and crashed almost immediately.
A former pilot who flew these types of banner planes said the job is not horribly unsafe.
“It’s not inherently dangerous for the amount of banners that are out there,” said Ron Nelson. “Banner planes that are flying, there’s only a handful of accidents that I do know of.”
The banner is normally picked up using a hook coming out from the back of the plane. It then grabs onto a rope attached to the banner. Nelson said while he knows of cases where issues do come up, some of them hitting close to home. At this point, it is unclear what happened on Saturday.
“I’ve lost a few friends inflight doing it,” he said. “I’ve lost a brother picking up a banner, he caught it in the main gear. It threw the center of gravity off, it happens.”
The Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday afternoon said the plane is an 8GCBC Scout aircraft that crashed in a field and caught fire after departing a private grass strip near the Foley Municipal Airport.
The crash is being investigated by the Baldwin County Sheriffs Office, the Baldwin County Coroner’s Office, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, the sheriff said.