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Kelly & West News

Plane Crash Severs Lawn Mower Operator’s Hand

A single-engine plane crashed into a man operating a lawnmower at a small North Carolina airport, severing his hand.

The New York Daily News reports that 74-year-old John Rufty was operating a riding lawnmower along a grass landing strip when the accident occurred. A single-engine plane, piloted by 84-year-old Edward Sisson, was flying into the landing strip when the plane collided with the lawnmower and the propeller blades of the aircraft completely severed Rufty’s left hand.

Sisson, an experienced pilot, had been flying into the small Taylorsville Airport from Crossville, Tennessee, to visit family in Taylorsville. The airport does not have an air traffic controller, and Rufty apparently couldn’t hear the incoming plane over the sound of the lawnmower, reports the Daily News.

The aircraft and the lawnmower both flipped over during the collision. Rufty was airlifted to the Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem where he was listed in critical condition. The plane’s pilot, Sisson, was not injured in the crash.

Sisson told officials that he didn’t see Rufty or the lawnmower until it was too late, reports ABC Local News. The conditions at the airport were explained by County emergency director Russell Greene, who said in an interview with ABC, “It’s my understanding there is no radio communications here for landing at this airport. This is a simple, grass strip, small planes only. Typically pilots circle the field. Make sure it’s clear and then come in for a landing.”

The accident is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). No charges are currently pending against Sisson.

If you or someone you love is injured in a plane accident, our dedicated Raleigh personal injury attorneys may be able to help you. Contact Kelly & West today to discuss the details of your case with us.

NOTE: We are not handling a lawsuit for the airplane accident mentioned in this news report.

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