Homeowner Bobby Nelson was startled when he heard a loud crash near his house as he put away purchases in his workshop.
Over the brow of the hill he saw a large but unidentifiable white object. As he approached, Nelson was shocked to see the pilot crawling out unaided when he had thought he might see something much worse.
“Call 9-1-1,” the pilot said, and Nelson saw blood on the passenger who remained inside. By the time he made the call and gave the dispatcher directions, both men were outside the plane.
“The pilot said they ran out of fuel,” Nelson said.
The two men were flying from New Orleans to the Indianapolis, Ind., area, said Sheriff Glenn Whitlock. They were identified as Greg Huett, 61, and Seth Rainwater, 33. Both were transported by ambulance to North Mississippi Medical Center-Iuka, and the passenger was later airlifted to NMMC-Tupelo, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration will begin its investigation today, the sheriff said. State troopers cordoned off about an acre of the Nelsons’ backyard, including the stand of trees that probably kept the plane from crashing into the back deck and the house.
Bobby Nelson’s wife, Cindy Nelson, was at her job as executive director at the Tishomingo County Archives and History Museum in Iuka when she got the call from her husband.
“He said ‘we have a plane in our backyard’ and all I could think about was it being a large plane with lots of injuries and casualties,” she said. “Those gentlemen have a lot to be thankful for, and we’re grateful that it wasn’t any worse.”