Tragic Plane Accident Kills Jogger on Business Trip

According to WIS, the life of  GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical salesman, Robert Gary Jones, was tragically taken earlier this week when he was hit by a plane making an emergency landing on Hilton Head Island. 

Mr. Jones, who was jogging and listening to his iPod, likely never saw or heard it before the aircraft hit him from behind.

“There’s no noise,” said aviation expert Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general for the National Transportation Safety Board. “So the jogger, with his ear buds in, and the plane without an engine, you’re basically a stealth aircraft. Who would expect to look up?”

The pilot, Edward I. Smith of Chesapeake, Va., and passenger, David Henry, walked away unharmed from the crash landing which occurred near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa. 

Mr. Smith was quoted as saying, “I’ve got a lot of issues going on right now,” Smith said. “I’ve got a plane that’s all torn up. And I’ve got a young man that I killed.”

The plane, a Lancair IV-P, lost its propeller during the flight.  Oil purportedly began leaking and was smeared all over its windshield, making visibility difficult, authorities said. It was “basically gliding” when it instantly killed Jones, said Ed Allen, the coroner for Beaufort County on the South Carolina coast.

Even with oil smeared on the windshield, Schiavo, the former NTSB official, believes that Smith should have been able to see through a small window on the side of the plane and possibly yell out to anyone below.

The airplane model that killed Jones has a turbine engine, can be built from a kit and can fly up to 370 mph. The “fastbuild kit” for the IV-P model, which has a pressurized cabin, costs $129,000 and is FAA approved.

 The accident is still under investigation. Our thoughts are with the family.

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