Sunday, May 24, 2009

The End of an era....3229Y - Steve's 182 Cessna airplane crashes

Pronounced Three two two niner Yankee......Meets a rough and fatal end! It's totalled!

The events of the past few days are all a blurr now. Friday afternoon I received a call from the Assistant Fire Chief in Martinsville, Indiana - and I instantly knew Steve crashed his plane!

He had left early in the morning to look at a job for a business friend's barn to paint. He asked if I wanted to go - but I declined. (I'm so thankful now!)

A million thoughts raced through my mind simultaneously as I held my breath and frantically tried to cling to every word he spoke as he told me that Steve was ok, but he was in the ambulance - which soon would transport him to Indianapolis, Indiana Methodist Hospital.

I had just returned from the grocery store where I had groceries to prepare for a Memorial day weekend and fly down to see our son Matt and his wife Jessie in Greenville, South Carolina the next morning.

I felt more assured that Steve was okay when the Asst. Fire Chief handed Steve his own personal cell phone so he could talk to me. Steve told me he was sorry - and told me to bring some more clothes - because the ones he was wearing they had to cut off!

I frantically raced through the house trying to put the groceries away, and then pack and get on the road for the long 4 hour drive up to Indianapolis. I don't think I have ever packed so fast in my life - and actually remembered nearly everything we'd need too! WOW!

I called Steve's nephew Mark, who lives only about an hour away and he called other family members and then got to Steve immediately - and then called me for regular updates. I am so enormously grateful to him for all his updates as I made my way up I-65N to Indianapolis!!! Between the trip-tik map and my GPS - I found the hospital without trouble!

When I arrived at the hospital around 10:30 pm - I was escorted to the Critical Care unit in the emergency room where Steve was situated. Julie, (Steve's niece and friend) were standing by his side. I'm so thankful that nearly his entire family was living nearby and could get to him before I was able to get there. so he wasn’t all alone. Mark and family stayed as long as they could - but Sherri had to go to work the next morning and so he took them home.

Without rehashing a moment by moment description I will jump ahead of myself and tell you that he is doing better – and yes – God indeed protected him – sparing his life! He and/or his friend could have died – and it is nothing less than a miracle that they walked away from it.

He and his friend Mike Ray actually RAN from the plane – as the fuel was leaking on to them – and they thought the plane may explode and wanted to get as far away as possible.

The paramedics at the scene had to put Steve on the ground – because he wouldn’t stop walking around – obviously he was in tremendous shock! I DO NOT know how he walked on his leg with the huge gash just below his knee cap.

After tests, MRI, CT scan and x-rays – they inserted a chest tube due to his collapsed lung, and his difficulty breathing due to the fluids rapidly filling his lung cavity. The chest tube inserted was the most difficult for Steve to handle and deal with – in that the pain was excruciating!

Other tests revealed a possible fracture to his knee cap – along with the deep gash just below the knee. It was inclusive if there would be any damage to the joint or torn ligament or tendons – but they would discover that when they took him in for surgery.

He was covered from head to toe in blood – from all the scrapes, gashes, and cuts that covered his entire body. He looked as though he went through a gigantic potato peeler.

When I arrived I began to wash the blood away and soon revealed that part of his upper lip was completely gone. When the surgery unit was preparing him for surgery, they called in a face specialist to repair the damage as soon as the orthopedic was finished with his knee.

They also suspected that his collar bone was broken – but if so – there was nothing they could do – so they weren’t as concerned with it if it was. However, he had 2 ribs that were broken – which was suspected to have punctured the lung causing it to collapse.
When I got to him - he was conscious and was able to piece together the events that led up to the crash.
He said that it was a short 1,800' grass landing strip. It was short - but he had already landed there - and was taking his friend out for a spin around the area for aerial pictures.
He said that when he began his descent he thought that he was coming in too fast. Although he touched down - he pulled the flaps up, and gave it a full throddle so he could go around and try again. It's a normal procedure called "Touch and goes" and nothing usually goes wrong. but this time - the runway was way too short and their was a hill in the way and couldn't get it going as fast as he needed. When he began to elevate the plane - his tail caught a power line causing him to slow down making it impossible to accelerate or elevate. He knew then that they were going to crash.
He looked ahead and it was more populated and also had multiple power lines. He then check out the toward the left and spotted a less populated space and turned the plane in hopes to land in a nearby field.
The rest is history. He never felt that he was going die - but kept thinking that it was going to hurt mighty bad! Hurting bad - I think was an understandment.
We are praising God for this miracle landing. The cars actually were a type of padding - making the landing less impacting. Had they landed on the ground - there may not have been any survivors.
The damamge to his knee was a pretty large gash - but there were no ligament or tendon damage. The joint was intact and there wasn't anything fractured. Just in the knee itself - is a miralce.
This story could have been so much worse....but it was the hand of God - that provented a catastrophe! And for that - we are so enormously thankful!
Thank you for all of you who have prayed about Steve and his recovery. He will be back on his feet before we know it!
The question remains.....will he fly again????? I wished that I had an answer to that....all I can say is that time will tell.