16-year-old pilot crash lands glider in Deatsville

Published: Jul. 21, 2017 at 5:42 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2017 at 8:46 PM CDT
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DEATSVILLE, AL (WSFA) - A 16-year-old pilot landed in a residential area while operating a glider Friday, according to the Millbrook Police Department.

The boy, whose name has not been released, was not seriously injured in the incident, according to Chief P.K. Johnson. There were no other reported injuries, and no other property besides the glider was damaged.

"This young man was very fortunate, as were the residents in the area," Johnson said. "I believe had he not quickly assessed his situation and realized that he was not going to make it back to Wetumpka Airport, we very well could be discussing a tragedy."

The crash landing happened between the roadway and a residence in the 300 block of Fraley Lane in Deatsville. When the boy lost altitude, he made the decision to attempt a crash landing.

The boy was reportedly flying towards the Wetumpka Airport when he realized he wasn't going to make it. According to a statement he gave police, the boy initially looked for a vacant field to make a safe landing.

After seeing nowhere else to land, the boy told authorities he was forced to use trees to slow his decent into a residential area. During that descent, the glider struck a power line, briefly knocking out power in the area.

"I'm very impressed that the young man was concerned about causing harm to others, especially when you consider that he was in danger of being injured or worse," Johnson said. "That speaks highly of both his training as a pilot and his character."

Johnson said the power line was knocked down onto the road, temporarily blocking it. That road has since been cleared, according to police.

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