4 from Dickson survive plane crash in AL - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

4 from Dickson survive plane crash in AL

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Ralph Watkins / WBRC) (Source: Ralph Watkins / WBRC)
HELENA, AL (WSMV) -

When a plane headed to Tennessee crashed, witnesses expected the worst.

Family members said the fact that everyone survived the Thursday afternoon crash is a miracle.

The plane took off from Panama City, FL, and was headed to Dickson when something went wrong, crashing in Helena, AL.

Family members said husband and wife Dan and Sharon Smith were on board along with their son, Andy Smith, and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Katie Hargrove.

Two men saw the plane go down, called 911 and ran to help.

With the wreckage on fire, 56-year-old Dan Smith insisted that his family be saved first.

"He said get my wife, get my wife," said Duane Lovelady, who helped rescue the family from the wreckage. "I grabbed her under her arms and drug her up the hill on the grass. Then he said get my kids, get my kids. So I got his girl and drug her up out of the way. Then he said come on and get the boy. So I drug him up there in the grass away from the plane.

"Then he said come get me, grab me by this arm. My other arm is broke. We pushed him up out of the way and then come the fire department."

Medics rushed all four survivors to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

"It was bad. The woman appeared the worst. They had her drug out and had her on oxygen," said Ralph Watkins, who called 911 while Lovelady was helping pull the family from the plane.

Dan Smith and Katie Hargrove are listed in good condition, though Hargrove did suffer a broken vertebrae. Sharon Smith, 52, and son, 19-year-old Andy Smith, are in serious condition.

In Dickson, anxious families were terrified to hear there had been a plane crash.

That terror turned to relief when they learned that all four aboard had been rescued.

Hargrove was supposed to start her senior year Friday at Dickson County High School.

Ginger Mattingly, Hargrove's aunt, is relieved to hear that Hargrove will be fine.

"She had a cracked vertebrae and they're going to go to surgery this evening," Mattingly said Thursday night. "We're very blessed that that's all there is with her."

Hargrove had gone for a beach vacation with her boyfriend and his parents.

Hargrove sent her cousins a picture taken in the plane before it crashed, saying they were on the way home.

Mattingly knows it could have all turned out so differently if not for the people who pulled Hargrove and the Smith family from the plane's wreckage.

"It is just an absolute miracle that they survived that," Mattingly said. "I am just so thankful that those men were there to be able to pull them out to get them out of the plane before it exploded. It's just a miracle.

"Thank you so much for going over and helping and saving their lives."

The Smiths are well known in Dickson. They own the Dickson Athletic Club. People who know them said Dan Smith is an excellent pilot, an experienced martial artist.

According to Mattingly, Hargrove is a sweet outgoing girl with an adventurous side.

"I'm not a flyer very much," Mattingly said. "I don't like even the big planes. But anything can happen. You never know. When it's going to be your time, it's going to be your time. Thank the Lord it wasn't their time yet."

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the crash.

A sergeant with the Helena Police Department told My Fox Alabama that it is believed Dan Smith was attempting to land the plane at the nearby Bessemer Airport, which was about a mile away from the crash site.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.