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Two people were killed when a plane crashed into a recreation vehicle park in the Briarcliffe RV Resort in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The crash was reported just after 1 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 18) at the park, which is located on North Kings Highway. Witnesses reported seeing the plane crash into the park and hearing screams from victims, the Myrtle Beach Sun News reported
Horry County Coroner Robert Edge said that the plane’s pilot and a woman in a camper were killed when the plane crashed. The woman has been identified as Eve Sullivan, 70, from New Hampshire.
The identity of the pilot was not available today, Edge said.
The 2004 Cessna plane, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website, is registered to Flynfish LLC in Plymouth, Mass. The plane has been parked at Ramp 66 in North Myrtle Beach for the last two months or so, Dowling said.
The pilot was “doing touch-and-go landings” Tuesday, which officials believe was to keep up to date his instrument flying certification or practice to achieve the certification, Dowling said.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the crash occurred after one of those take-off maneuvers.
Officials think the pilot has a home in the area.
The woman’s husband, who also was inside the RV, suffered first-degree burns, Dowling said.
A man who was injured as a result of the crash was transported to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center where he was evaluated for non-life-threatening injuries, hospital spokeswoman Joan Carroza said. The hospital could not release further information about the man, she said.
The hospital is not treating any other patients for injuries related to the incident, Carroza said.
The plane clipped some trees as it crashed and three RVs in the park were damaged, Dowling said. The weather was cloudy with light drizzling rain at the time of the incident.
Two blocks inside the RV park were closed as emergency crews worked to secure the area, Dowling said.
Gail Moore, arrived at the RV park a day ago and was located directly beside the trailer that the plane struck.
She said she heard the explosion and went outside. While trying to move her car she heard screams from inside the burning trailer.
“Listening to someone die is not a very nice thing,” she said. “The screaming, I can’t get it out of my head.”
Doc and Deb Dooley, a couple who were in their trailer across from the crash site, said they heard a loud screeching sound just before the crash. When they looked out the window to see what was causing the noise, they saw a ball of flame outside and weren’t sure what it was.
Doc Dooley thought it was a propane explosion, he said, and he grabbed a garden hose to help. Outside he and several others had hoses but the flames were too big, he said.
Dooley said a frantic man ran from the trailer that was struck by the plane looking for his wife and screaming “where’s my wife?’’ The older man and his wife had been in the RV park less than a week, the Dooleys said.
“All we did was try to help,” said Doc Dooley. “We didn’t even know it was a plane at first.”
Joyce Bertschy, an employee at the RV resort, said she heard the plane come in low over the office building.
She said she was in the office with about eight other employees when “we heard it come in and then we heard the explosion.”
She said the resort is in the flight line for Grand Strand airport and they sometimes hear planes come over.
The plane crashed on the north end of the RV park, close to U.S. 17, she said.
“Thank God our resort is almost empty at this time,” she said. But she said there were “quite a few people” in the area where the plane crashed.
Willie Brown, manger at the Fuddruckers restaurant close to the entrance to the RV park, said he was in the building when he heard the plane go over head.
He said he heard the noise and looked out the window to see what was happening and “saw an explosion and we could see the flames.”
“It barely missed us,” he said. “I’m grateful for my life.”
He said that after the initial explosion when the plane hit the ground there were two or three other smaller explosions but “right now it seems like they got everything under control.”
This is the second fatal plane crash in a year in the North Myrtle Beach.