Florida man survives plane crash on 89th birthday

Small plane overturns after hard landing in DeLeon Springs

By Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group, Jerry Askin - Reporter

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Two people were pulled from a plane after it crashed in Volusia County on Sunday afternoon, officials said.

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office officials said while in flight, an engine malfunction forced the pilot, Herbert Weens, to land the plane in a field on Johnson Lake Road in DeLeon Springs.

Weens told deputies he misjudged the slope of the ground, which caused the front tire to suffer damage on impact. The plane then flipped over.

“I looked over and it just kept going down, down, down and boom,” Karen Henry said.

Henry, who lives right next door, said she and her daughter saw the small plane come crashing down around 3 p.m. Their first reaction was to call 911. They then rushed over to make sure both men inside were OK.

“I ran back home to get something to help the other gentleman,” Henry said. “He was stuck in his seat belt and we had to cut him out."

Deputies said Weens and the passenger, Kenneth Brownell, were taken to Florida Hospital DeLand with minor injuries.

The crash happened during a birthday ride for Brownell, who is 89.

“I hope he had a happy birthday with that plane ride, but they’re both very happy and blessed to be alive,” Henry said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been called in to assist in determining what led to the engine issues.

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