Pilot 'dazed' but OK after plane crashes into Englewood yard

- Neighbors in an Englewood subdivision are breathing a sigh of relief after a small plane crash-landed into a yard off Old Englewood Road, a mere 15 feet from a house. They say thankfully, no one was injured.

Norman Ellis was busy treating his pool Thursday morning just before noon when all of a sudden, he noticed something was off with a nearby plane’s takeoff.

“I can see he was taking off,” he recalled, “and he started to take off, and he got up a little ways then he dipped down, I said, ‘He ain’t gonna make this. And he’s coming straight for me.'”

The plane veered down and hit a tree.

“He was spinning around in the air, and I ran into the house, because a lanai screen isn’t much protection,” Ellis continued.

A retired firefighter, Ellis immediately called 911 and was back outside in seconds.  The plane came within 15 feet of crashing into his home; thankfully, the pilot was OK.

“He was fine, he just sat there, he was kind of dazed. I couldn’t find any marks on him, he just opened the door and got out.”

The plane had taken off from Buchan Airport, the grass runway ending about 150 feet from where the man crashed. Just a few more feet, and Ellis says it could have been an entirely different story.

“I said, ‘You’re lucky to be alive.’”

Officials from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office spent the afternoon at the scene, speaking with the pilot. They’re awaiting the arrival of the FAA, who will continue the investigation.

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