Mobile-Fire Rescue officials said they responded to mosquito sprayer plane down at McDuffie Coal Terminal. The terminal is on Ezra Trice Boulevard in Mobile.
A crane operator said he was on a crane when he saw the plane fly over. “Sounded like he was running out of gas, me and the other operator heard it sputtering,” Burke Armistead told FOX10 News.
“He got right there beside the container yard and started dropping down real fast,” Armistead continued. “Then, look like when he hit he just turned to the left real hard, big pile of dust came up. It never exploded or nothing. Then we called 911.
Armistead said it looked like the pilot was trying to land.
Steve Huffman with Mobile Fire Rescue said the pilot was walking around when officials arrived on scene. He was taken to USA Medical Center for non-life threatening injures.
“The aircraft is sitting upright obviously it looks like it nose dived or hit the ground or dirt but it’s sitting upright on an open filed. No buildings, no people so if you’re going to crash this was the way to do it,” Huffman said.
He said the plane was carrying 50 gallons of pesticide.
The Mobile County Health Department said the pilot was flying a planned mission, a mosquito control spray, in the area of Battleship Memorial Parkway, prior to a July Fourth celebration Friday evening.
“We pray for the pilot’s speedy recovery,” said Dr. Bernard Eichold, Health Officer for the Mobile County Health Department. “We’re also grateful no one on the ground was injured.”
Officials with the Alabama State Port Authority say the pilot was conscious and transported to USA Medical Center.
The plane is a Cessna 336 (push-pull), a twin-engine fixed wing aircraft with non-retractable gear. It was acquired from the military by the health agency to provide mosquito control in areas such as salt marshes that can’t be reached by trucks. An investigation will be conducted by the FAA/NTSB.