‘By the grace of the Lord,’ plane misses house by a few feet

A plane missed a house in the 900 block of 10th Street Southwest in Alabaster by a few feet when it crashed on Jan. 1. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

A plane missed a house in the 900 block of 10th Street Southwest in Alabaster by a few feet when it crashed on Jan. 1. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster Fire Chief Jim Golden expected the worst after hearing a report of a plane down in a densely populated neighborhood on a holiday when residents were likely to be home spending time with family.

“Any time you hear a report of a plane down in such a populated area, you are going to have some concerns,” Golden said the morning after a single-engine plane crashed in the backyard of a house in the 900 block of 10th Avenue Southwest in Alabaster’s Thompson Plantation neighborhood. “That was a close call. We were very fortunate that it landed where it did.”

The plane, which was en route from the Bessemer Airport to the Shelby County Airport on Jan. 1, crashed at about 2 p.m., missing a residence by only a few feet. The crash site also was atop a steep ridge leading down to Buck Creek.

Golden said the pilot removed himself from the downed aircraft and was conscious and alert when emergency responders arrived on the scene. The pilot was transported by ambulance to UAB Hospital to be treated for non life-threatening injuries.

The homeowners were not home when the crash happened, and were on their way home from out of town, Golden said.

“It was amazing that it happened the way it happened,” Golden said. “To not have any life-threatening injuries and to not have any significant property damage, it’s the grace of the Lord.”

On the morning of Jan. 2, the residence and the crash site were surrounded by yellow caution tape and the Alabaster Police Department was still on the scene assisting the Federal Aviation Administration with its investigation of the crash.

Golden, who was on his way to the scene on Jan. 2, praised residents near the crash site for quickly calling 911 when they saw the plane go down.

“A lot of people saw the plane in distress and they called 911,” Golden said. “Some people called back and gave us more details, which helped us a lot. We had a general vicinity, but it helped us find the scene a lot quicker.

“We were blessed it was not worse than it was,” Golden added.