Single-Engine Plane Crash Near Green Pond Leaves Pilot Critically Injured

GREEN POND, S.C. — A pilot was critically injured after her single-engine plane crashed in rural Colleton County minutes after taking off from Beaufort Executive Airport on Jan. 2. The Colleton County Fire-Rescue reported that the plane experienced mechanical problems shortly after takeoff, causing the pilot to attempt to return to Beaufort. A property owner in Wiggins Road, about 12 miles south of Green Pond, reported hearing the plane strike several trees before nosediving into a small pond on his property. He mentioned that the plane’s engine was not running before it struck the trees.

The pilot, the reported sole occupant of the plane, was found unconscious and with multiple injuries by the property owner when they reached the crash site. Emergency responders arrived about 15 minutes later, with a CARE Flight medical helicopter dispatched to transport the pilot to the MUSC Trauma Center in Charleston. Advanced medical procedures, including the administration of whole blood and airway management, were conducted en route, according to the incident report.

The aircraft involved was a Piper Cherokee Arrow, a single-engine aircraft that seats four. Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane is registered to Theresa C. McDonald of Beaufort, although the identity of the pilot has not been released. Publicly available flight information indicates that the plane took off from Beaufort Executive Airport at 10:54 a.m. and reached an altitude of 2,800 feet about four minutes later. However, about nine minutes into the flight, it began to lose airspeed and altitude, with the recording of flight data ending 13 minutes after takeoff.

Upon impact, one wing was torn away from the fuselage, and a large amount of fuel spilled into the pond. Despite this, no fire was reported. Both the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the FAA responded to the crash scene, with the FAA taking charge of the investigation.