Pilot talks about surviving crash that narrowly avoided homes

Marlin Moudy landed plane in field near US 1

STUART, Fla. - In his hangar at Stuart's Witham Field, Marlin Moudy is working on an engine overhaul. His bay next door sits empty.  

There was a plane parked there for many years, one that Moudy used for relief flights to Haiti. But after 50 years of flying, Moudy wondered if March 14th might have been his last day aloft.

"I hollered out in a loud, clear voice, 'Jesus help me,' because I knew I was in a serious situation," said Moudy as he tinkered with the engine to his other plane.

Returning from a business trip to the Bahamas, he dropped off a friend in Fort Pierce, and had a 9 minute flight back to Stuart.

First his left engine quit.

"Got it running again but just as I got it running again, the right one quit," said the 71-year-old who took his first solo flight at age 18.

The left engine, then quit again.

Below him, rush hour traffic on U.S. Route 1.

"My biggest concern at that point was not to kill anybody, " said Moudy.

Avoiding houses, Moudy managed to crash land the plane in an old fish hatchery.

"What saved my life was that bump at impact. I hit a palm tree and it spun me sideways," said Moudy.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing to look into why both of Moudy's engines quit on him. But the crash isn't keeping him from getting back up in the clouds. He hopes if he can finish the repair work on his other plane, he can take it up by the end of the week.

Moudy says his elbow and chest are sore, and he has some stitches in his hand.

He returned to the crash scene a few days later.

"Everybody came running to me praising me and saying 'you did such a good job.' I said 'no I didn't, I had some supernatural help,' " said Moudy.

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