Jogger Killed by Aircraft Making Emergency Landing

March 16, 2010
Abram I. Bohrer

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A freak aviation accident has claimed the life of a pharmaceutical salesman out for a jog while on a business trip. Officials say Robert Gary Jones of Woodstock, Ga., was struck by a single-engine experimental aircraft that was making an emergency landing on Hilton Head Beach.

The Lancair IV-P aircraft, which was being piloted by Edward I. Smith of Chesapeake, Va. had lost its propeller and was “basically gliding” as it hit and instantly killed Jones.

Neitiher the pilot nor his lone passenger were injured during the emergency crash landing near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa.

Authorities said that the aircraft departed Orlando, Fla., at 4:45 p.m. Monday and was en route to Virginia when it started leaking oil at about 13,000 feet. The pilot determined he couldn’t make it to Hilton Head Airport and told authorities that oil on the windshield blocked his vision and the propeller had come off, forcing him to attempt a landing on the beach.