2nd small plane crashes in St. Johns County

Both people on board survived crash, Florida Highway Patrol says

By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Nick Jones - Digital producer, Maggie Lorenz - Multi-media journalist

ELKTON, Fla. - Shortly after a small plane went down Sunday in Hastings injuring two pilots, News4Jax learned of a second small plane crash in St. Johns County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a single-engine 1979 Cessna crashed in Elkton in a farm field not far from County Road 305 and Huff Road just before 9:30 a.m. Two men, ages 31 and 27, were on board the plane and no one was hurt.

Troopers said the pilot was practicing emergency drills over the field. The pilot made an error, which led to the crash.

Aviation expert and pilot Ed Booth said students have to go through first-hand emergency and malfunction training, and there's always a risk those drills can turn dangerous. 

"Unfortunately, when they went to apply power to the engine it did not respond and the simulated emergency became a real emergency," Booth said. 

Booth said unlike business and commercial airline training done in simulators, general aviation pilots have to complete their emergency training in the sky. 

"You can count on every license when you're doing your primary training at some inopportune time your instructor's gonna reach over and pull the throttle back to idle and see what you do," Booth said. "What you're trained to do is to always be looking for an emergency landing sight."

The pilot and instructor landed in an open field and were able to walk away.

Earlier in the morning, a plane went down near an agricultural field in Hastings. Two men were hospitalized, both with serious injuries.

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