Man who survived Siler City plane crash wants to fly again

WHISPERING PINES, NC (WTVD) -- Fred Para is luckier than many. The 72-year-old survived a plane crash that left him with a severed foot, hand, and broken bones.

The accident June 2 in a wooded area near the Siler City Airport in Chatham County killed his wife Barbara.

Despite all that, Para says he wants to fly again. Friends say his attitude and the speed of his recovery is nothing short of remarkable.

"I think my recovery has to do with I always kept myself in shape. I was a body builder for many years, and I was strong and in shape when the accident happened," Para explained.

Para said he and Barbara were flying their single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza to the Siler City airport for maintenance when he lost sight of the runway while trying to land.

"As I was making the turn, I stalled the airplane, and I dove to where I thought the runway would be, and grabbed a tree," he recalled.

Para said he and Barbara flew everywhere and together logged more than 5,000 hours flight time.

In 2006, the couple moved from New Jersey to Moore County. They loved the community, the climate, and the convenience of being between the mountains and ocean - and between New York and Florida.

Para hopes to get back in the air in the next 5 or 6 months but there is still a lot of rehab to do. And while he says he desperately misses his wife and co-pilot, he says he knows she'll be right beside him whenever he takes to the skies.

"We were very adventurous pilots," he said. "You try and do the best you can to make yourself a whole person."

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