A Kansas man, his son, and dog survived a plane crash “without a scratch” in Destin, Florida, Sunday morning after reportedly experiencing engine problems.
The Beechcraft Bonanza crashed nose-down in a tree in the backyard of a home at 10:08 a.m. while attempting to land at the Destin Executive Airport, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Jason Dougherty, 47, his son Caleb Dougherty, 22, and their Labrador retriever emerged from the plane unharmed as neighbors who witnessed the plane go down rushed to assist. Videos and pictures of the plane crash show the single-engine Beechcraft wedged downward in the branches of a tree. The left wing appears to be the only part of the aircraft that contacted the ground.
The airplane crashed in the backyard of a woman’s home on Planet Drive, missing the house by about five feet, according to USA Today. The woman was not at home at the time, but she returned to find her neighbors helping the Doughertys out of the plane with a ladder.
The residence where the crash occurred is among a cluster of homes between Cobbs Point on Choctawhatchee Bay and Destin Executive Airport. The airport property and runway end at Main St. and Planet Dr.
A resident of the neighborhood told USA Today that residents in that area worry about the potential for airplane crashes because of their close proximity to the airport.
“We’re not in the direct path of the flight landing, but we’ve always said that it’s not a matter of if it’ll happen, but when it’ll happen,” the woman told USA Today. “This is a perfect example. … Everyone is extremely lucky.”
The sheriff’s office said that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were notified of the crash and would investigate.
The Beechcraft Bonanza has been in continuous production longer than any other aircraft in history. Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas, first introduced the airplane in 1947.
Mike Andrews, a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability section, focuses much of his practice on aviation accident litigation. He has represented people seriously injured in aviation crashes, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. Currently, Mike represents family members of victims in the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
For more information about aviation litigation, Mike also has written a book for lawyers, Aviation Litigation & Accident Investigation, which discusses the complexities of aviation crash investigation and litigation. He provides basic instruction on investigating an accident, preserving evidence, insight into legal issues associated with aviation claims, and anecdotal instances of military and civilian crashes. The book is free for lawyers.