MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- Salvage crew members fought through slushy mud, tall trees, and murky swamp to remove a plane that crashed in the area nearly a month ago. The Alabama pilot, Ricky Ford III, miraculously survived and walked more than 10 miles to nearby Lacky’s restaurant for help.
Tim Brooks with the Army Corps of Engineers says they had to get clearance before removing the plane.
“We had to put a road in from the gate and basically had to wait on the FAA,” said Brooks.
Once they get the small plane through the tough terrain, crews will break it apart before taking it out of the woods.
“It’ll take us all day, we’ll have to dissemble the wings and load them out to this trailer and pull it out to the main road. It’s pretty well in tact, it is not a lot of damage on it, water damage in the engine, but you know, we’ll get it out and they’ll be able to salvage it,” said Bob Caldwell of Caldwell Farms.
Crew members say that the pilot landed upside down in the tall grass, which actually turned out in his favor. If he had landed 50 yards to the left, right, or in front of him, he could have died.
“He ran it completely out of fuel and when the trees hit the bull rush out here, it just cushioned the fall of the plane,” said Brooks.
“You can see water on each side, so in mere seconds he would have been a drink. The power lines, trees that way, basically trees everywhere,” said Caldwell.
Even when the plane is gone, the work is far from over. Officials will have to make sure wildlife is protected.
“DEQ will come in and put pads down to remove any oil or gas that’s leaked out there. We’ve got an eagle’s nest that’s less than 300 yards from here,” said Brooks.
It’s a dirty and tiresome job, but crew members still feel relieved. The outcome of this crash could have been much worse.
Once the salvage team gets the plane out of the swamp, the FAA will remove the plane from the area.