Pilot walks away from plane crash near Highland

News-DemocratJuly 2, 2014 

AP GRAPHIC

A pilot who crashed his ultralight Tuesday afternoon had recently completed building the aircraft, according to rescue workers. He told them he had problems as he attempted to land, which resulted in the ultralight rolling over several times when it hit the ground.

Highland police identified the pilot as Kevin Dawkins, 60, who lived a short distance from PIC Park where the accident happened a little after 6 p.m. in Pierron, located near Highland in Bond County.

Little league and softball games are played in the park and games were taking place when the crash happened. Ballplayers and coaches rushed to the scene while rescuers from the Highland-Pierron Fire Department were called.

According to fire department workers, the pilot didn't have life-threatening injuries but may have broken his arm or wrist. Witnesses told rescue workers that he was conscious and alert and walked away from the crash.

A spokesman from the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that his agency has not investigated the crash because the FAA does not cover ultralight aircraft.

The pilot was the only person on board at the time the aircraft went down.

It was the second time in about two weeks that a plane crashed in the metro-east.

On June 15, a skydiving company's plane crashed near Valmeyer when it had mechanical difficulties, causing the pilot to bail out.

After a load of skydivers jumped out, 21-year-old pilot Shawn Kinmartin discovered one of their parachutes had become caught in the tail of the plane, making it impossible to control the plane.

Kinmartin tried to level off and point the plane to a remote area along the Mississippi River before he bailed out at about 1,500 feet above the ground. The plane crashed into a field at B and Bergen roads.

Kinmartin, a student at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale flight school, said it was the first time he jumped from a plane.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.(*19*)

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