Duluth pilot lands in peanut field - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Duluth pilot lands in peanut field

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January 18, 2003

Irwin County- This is Jim Pritchard's twin engine plane with its nose driven into the ground while making an emergency landing.

Irwin County Sheriff, Donnie Youghn says another plane was flying over the field and was able to direct his deputy to the plane.

Deputy Tammy Champion says she was happy to see the door open because it meant the passengers were able to get out and walk away.

Jim Pritchard and his wife, along with their two sons and dog were headed to Valdosta to meet his mother-in-law for lunch when one engine failed and the other began to give him trouble.

"We had a maintenance problem with the aircraft about a week ago and we test flew it last week, and it really mimicked the same problem we had last week," explains Jim Pritchard. "I was pretty sure I'd make the airfield, but it didn't quite turn out that way, so there was a real nice peanut field just south of the field that we were able to land at and walk away pretty easy."

After they landed the family walked to a nearby cabin where someone found them and they were able to call the police.

"It's a blessing from our Heavenly Father, but we never really were in a lot of danger. The engines quit, I actually shut both engines down before we landed, and I thought we were going to get away without bending the airplane, but I ran out of peanut field unfortunately," says Pritchard.

Pritchard's 17 years as a pilot definitely came in handy, and he says one emergency landing isn't going to keep him grounded.

The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating the accident.

Posted at 7:10 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com