3 Montgomery-area men recovering from OK plane crash - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Vigil held for local men injured in plane crash, 2 victims return home

Paul Woolard (Source: Woolard Brothers Commercial Contracting Inc.) Paul Woolard (Source: Woolard Brothers Commercial Contracting Inc.)
Randy Watson with his daughters (Source: Kendall Watson Henderson) Randy Watson with his daughters (Source: Kendall Watson Henderson)
Ryan Bozeman (Courtesy: Ryan Bozeman) Ryan Bozeman (Courtesy: Ryan Bozeman)

The community continues to rally around three men from the Montgomery area who were injured in a plane crash in Oklahoma. 

A prayer service was held Thursday night in Montgomery as new signs of progress and support emerged.

The single-engine plane belonging to a well-known Montgomery contractor went down in Nowata County, OK. Nowata County is located in Northeastern Oklahoma on the Kansas border. Officials say the plane went down northwest of the small city of Nowata around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Paul Woolard, 50, of Montgomery, was flying his single engine plane with his longtime friend, Randy Watson, 54, of Montgomery, and Ryan Bozeman, 25, of Wetumpka, as his passengers. Ryan Bozeman is also a family friend and the son of Woolard's business partner at the Woolard Brothers Commercial Contracting company in Montgomery.

Relatives say the men were returning from a turkey hunting trip when the plane suffered engine troubles at 6,000 feet.

"The engine stopped. It totally cut off without warning," said Woolard's brother-in-law Rob Sandlin. "There were no runways in drifting distance so he looked for a place to land. Paul remained calm and managed to set it down without hitting any trees. It's an absolute miracle. It's the grace of God that got them through it, for sure."

Sandlin said Woolard has been flying for years and is an excellent pilot.

Woolard's sister, Teri Sandlin, told WSFA: "They said that he could land on a highway and he looked over and saw that and cars and he knew how that outcome would be and so he chose to land in a field and made the right decision, absolutely."

An outpouring of community support followed in the wake of the crash, from words of support on social media sites to local prayer groups and church congregations from across the River Region coming together to pray for the men.

"It's a miracle that they were able to make it out. The plane, the way it crashed, it was great piloting by Paul. He did a great job getting the airplane down. They were able to get the plane belly-side down and the plane did not catch fire. They went through trees and did not hit any trees," said Hardy Sellers, Administrative Pastor at Vaughn Forest Church, where Randy Watson and Paul Woolard's sister are members. "God certainly had his hand protecting them on this flight."

All three men were treated at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, OK.

Woolard, according to relatives, suffered a fractured skull and head laceration in the crash. He was released from the hospital and is home in Montgomery as he continues to heal. 

Watson, a financial advisor at UBS in Montgomery, underwent surgery Monday night on several fractured vertebrae and a blood clot in his spine.  He remains in the hospital and will need long term care in a rehabilitation facility. 

"We found out today that dad will be coming to Atlanta on Monday morning to spend the rest of his recovery and rehab time at the Shepard Center! We are so excited to have him closer to home," Kendall Watson Henderson, his daughter, reported on her Facebook page Friday.

Ryan Bozeman suffered fractured vertebrae and is home in Wetumpka recovering. 

Family members say the men have a long road to recovery but their loved ones know things could have turned out very differently.

"No matter what happens, we're just joyful that everyone is ok and alive right now and we're just trusting in the Lord to take care of my dad and we'll see what happens," said Randy Watson's daughter, Kendall. "My dad has said many times that Mr. Paul is great at what he does when it comes to flying and he took care of them. But I know that the Lord was definitely there with them, watching over them."

Members of Vaughn Forest Baptist Church welcomed family members, friends and members of the public for a vigil Thursday night. With hands held and heads bowed, those gathered prayed for Woolard, Watson and Bozeman and heard updates on their injuries.

"Montgomery is a big city but it feels like a small city. People are very tight knight here and we look out for our own," said Chad Boak, worship production pastor at Vaughn Forest Church. "We want to make sure that as they continue this road to recovery that we are praying for them, helping take care of them and praying for their families and taking care of them as well because it is going to be a long road to recovery both for the men involved in the accident and for their families."

"We know it's just going to be a day by day and that's where more prayers are going to come in because that's what has gotten them to this point," Teri Sandlin added. 

Those close to the crash victims believe their brush with danger has a deeper meaning.

"It's a testament that there's something more for them to do, that God has a plan for them not just for their own lives but for their lives to ripple out and to affect other people," added family friend Meagan Cutler.

A preliminary report into the crash released by the National Transportation Safety Board indicated that the plane had no fuel and that no engine abnormalities were found.

"A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the airplane and reported finding no fuel in the fuel tanks, no evidence of fuel stains on the airplane or ground, and no odor of fuel. An examination of the engine revealed no anomalies," the report stated.

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