Pilot's wife and rescuer speak out about crash, moments after - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Pilot's wife and rescuer speak out about crash, moments after

Kent Wingate was flying from Ohio to Covington for a funeral when he crashed around 11 a.m. Kent Wingate was flying from Ohio to Covington for a funeral when he crashed around 11 a.m.
(Photo source: Tipton County Sheriff's Office) (Photo source: Tipton County Sheriff's Office)
"We are optimistic that he will be healed and come back to us as a whole person," said Dr. Katherine Wingate, Kent's wife. "We are optimistic that he will be healed and come back to us as a whole person," said Dr. Katherine Wingate, Kent's wife.
"I think any time you can make a difference, you should," he Rick Finney, who rescued Kent. "It wasn't by accident that I had EMT training and had skills to land that plane there." "I think any time you can make a difference, you should," he Rick Finney, who rescued Kent. "It wasn't by accident that I had EMT training and had skills to land that plane there."
(WMC) - Kent Wingate, the pilot who crashed into a wooded area near Covington Municipal Airport on Wednesday, remains in the ICU trauma unit at the Regional Medical Center.

Kent was flying from Ohio to Covington for a funeral when he crashed around 11 a.m. His wife, Dr. Katherine Wingate, says while he is alive, he is not out of the woods yet.

"We are optimistic that he will be healed and come back to us as a whole person," she said.
 
Kent is showing signs of being able to breathe on his own, a respirator is being used because he has a collapsed lung.  He also has multiple broken bones, but his overall condition is steady and is not getting worse. Doctors say the pilot is showing signs of some traumatic brain injury, so they are watching him closely.

Dr. Wingate was practicing at her pediatric clinic in Dayton, Ohio, when she found out her husband had crashed.

"We had texted about 45 minutes before he was scheduled to land," she said. "And I didn't hear anything for several hours."
  
Dr. Wingate said her husband had enough fuel in his plane to get to Covington. She thinks something else must have happened to cause the crash.

"I truly believe God's purpose will be fulfilled in this," she said. 

Kent would not be alive without the fast actions of the rescuers that saved his life, said his wife. But Rick Finney does not consider himself a hero.

"I really just had a chance to make a difference," said the former firefighter and EMT.

At first, Finney flew a crop duster around the river bottom to locate the plane. He then landed in a field, walked to the banks of the Hatchie River, then jumped in and started to swim across the river to reach Kent. A passing fisherman picked Finney up and took him the rest of the way across the river.

"I gave him some first aid, cleared his airway, supported his head and spoke to him like he was your mother, letting him know help was on the way," explained Finney.

He continued first aid for about 40 minutes until the rest of the rescue team could make it across the river. Finney said Kent was in and out of consciousness the whole time.

"I told him everything was attached to him that was supposed to be attached and that I'd gotten hurt a lot worse than that on a swing as kid," added Finney, who had actually survived plane engine failure himself in the past.

The crash, Finney said, should serve as a lesson to everyone to pay it forward.

"I think any time you can make a difference, you should," he said. "It wasn't by accident that I had EMT training and had skills to land that plane there."

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.  
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