Pilot survives small plane crash in Sanford


It happened one mile south of the Sanford-Lee County Regional Airport near the intersection of Rod Sullivan and Ammons Farms Roads.

» Click here for Google map of the area. «

The pilot, Ray Kelley, said he was flying from Siler City to Sanford when he was attempting to land, overshot the runway and landed in a field.

"Anytime you can walk away from a plane crash, you're lucky to be alive," said Kelley.

Kelley said when things took a turn for the worse he just kept telling himself to remember his training. He's said he's thankful the recent rain softened the ground because the wheels were able to dig into the mud easily.

"I was making my approach for the airport, and it was an odd phenomenon," said Kelley. "I had too much power that the plane would not allow itself to land but not enough to stay in flight."

Quickly realizing he wasn't going to make the runway, Kelley started looking for other options.

"There was a cow pasture near the runway so I made a decision," he said.

He dodged power lines, but instead took out wires to the electrical fence surrounding the land.

Kelley said the plane, a Piper PA-32, is a total loss. He was the only one on board.

The FAA will investigate the exact cause of the crash.

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