Small plane crashes behind Wellington home

Pilot trapped, rescued

WELLINGTON, Fla. - The pilot of a single engine plane and members of a Wellington family, are lucky to be alive, after a small plane crashed in Wellington Friday afternoon.

The single engine plane was trying to take off from a grass runway in Wellington,when the pilot lost control and wound up hanging over the side of their pool in the backyard of a home.

The aircraft went down in the 15 thousand Block of Britten Lane in the Aero Club. This is a community that is built around aviation. Most of the homes surround a four-thousand-foot runway.

According to registration numbers on the aircraft the plane is a Piper Malibu.

The owner of the plane identified the pilot of the small plane as Steven Jenkey. He was the only occupant of the plane.

Barbel Abela witnessed the crash; she was the next pilot in line to take off, after Jenkey.

Abela and co-pilot Wayne Haley saw Jenkey taxi for a moment, lose control, veer to the left, and clip trees.

The plane landed upside down with the nose hanging over the pool.

Haley and Abela ran to help, but Jenkey was trapped. "Nobody could get to the door to let the pilot out," said Haley.

"He was strapped in. Lucky he was, that's what saved his life," said Palm Beach County Fire Rescue spokesman Don DeLucia.

Fuel from the plane was spewing into the swimming pool, creating a potentially explosive situation for everyone involved. Foam had to be sprayed before firefighters could get near the plane.

They used a ladder to get him out, then flew him by Trauma Hawk to Delray Medical Center, with practically the whole community rooting Jenkey on.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said the pilot was conscious when they arrived.

Two people and their dog were in the house. They were evacuated as a precaution.

Several pilots wondered whether strong winds were a factor.

Pilots who use the inner strip say, no one had any concerns over the four-thousand- foot grass airstrip, calling it a high quality, little to worry about type of landing spot.

The owner of the plane, who was at Delray Medical Center with the pilot, spoke by phone. He had actually just been dropped off and Jenkey was taking the plane back to Vero Beach.

Jenkey suffered a concussion and has a cracked rib, but is expected to survive.

The crash has been reported to The National Transportation Safety Board.

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