Man walks away from plane crash in Woods Cross

Published: Monday, March 18 2013 10:28 p.m. MDT

The pilot of a small plane, center, talks with officers after wrecking his plane at Skypark Airport in Woods Cross, Monday, March 18, 2013.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

WOODS CROSS — A 63-year-old man walked away from a crash after his plane flipped upside down and caught on fire.

The single-engine plane went down about 1:10 p.m. at Skypark Airport, triggering a small fire in the cockpit. The plane came to rest upside down on the grass near the runway.

"He was able to crawl out of the plane, and passers-by helped put the fire out," said Woods Cross Police Chief Greg Butler. "He's just incredibly fortunate to walk away from this."

The pilot, Andre Kostrzwa, told police he was preparing to land but came in too low, Butler said. When he took the plane back up, winds caught the craft and forced it to the east of the runway, where it crashed.

Butler said Kostrzwa has "many decades" of experience. 

Kostrzwa told people at the scene he had opened the hatch before impact, in case he needed to exit quickly. He also reported he sustained second-degree burns on his right leg as he escaped the fire.

KSL Chopper 5 pilot Ben Tidswell was waiting at the airport when he heard a crash and rushed to help the pilot.

"I reached down to grab a fire extinguisher because there was evidence of fire, some smoke coming up, and I rushed across to the scene," Tidswell said. "As I approached the aircraft, the pilot was actually extracting himself."

After ensuring the pilot was safe and no one else was inside the plane, Tidswell helped put out the fire. Seeing any crash, even one without injuries, is unnerving, he said. 

"Nobody likes to see an aircraft crash," Tidswell said. "You can picture yourself being in those same shoes, and that's always something very disconcerting. We're all kind of a fellowship, really, and you want to help out as best you can." 

Contributing: Marc Giauque

McKenzie Romero

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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