Pilot escapes serious injury after plane owned by Auburn University crashes

Plane crash

OPELIKA, Ala. — A pilot flying a plane belonging to Auburn University escaped serious injury on Sunday when the single-passenger aircraft crashed in Opelika, Alabama.

>> Read more trending news

The pilot was flying the 2020 Cessna 172S Skyhawk, which is owned by the university, on a training flight when it went down, WTVM reported. She was the only person on board the aircraft, officials said.

Police and fire officials in Opelika responded to the crash on Watson Street at the end of the dead-end road in the east-central Alabama city, the Opelika Police Department wrote in a Facebook post.

The aircraft crashed approximately 2,000 feet east of the runway shortly after takeoff from Auburn University Regional Airport, WSFA-TV reported.

The woman suffered injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening, officials said. She was taken to an area hospital as a precautionary measure, WRBL-TV reported.

“It made a loud popping sound kind of like an engine backfiring,” Julianne Slaughter, who lives in the area, told WTVM. “When I turned around it was descending pretty rapidly and I just started running to where it was going to obviously go down. It went through the trees and the plane went down.”

Slaughter told WRBL that the pilot emerged unscathed from the wreck.

“She actually had not a scratch on her that I saw so it was awesome that she was able to walk away and be fine,” Slaughter told the television station. “She was worried about the plane and I told her that’s just stuff it didn’t matter.”

Officials from Auburn University Campus Safety said school officials met with the pilot’s family, according to WTVM. They were unavailable for comment.

The crash resulted in a fuel spill, which led to the deployment of a hazardous material team, WRBL reported.

“The good thing about it, is their homes are right here I mean, a couple hundred yards this way, there could have been two or three homes wiped out and with gas tanks back there, it could have blown up the entire neighborhood,” another neighbor, Ernest Griggs, told WTVM.

The Federal Aviation Administration is leading the investigation, according to the television station.