Pilot Notices Plane On Fire Before Crash Landing in Cotton Field - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/14/06

Pilot Notices Plane On Fire Before Crash Landing in Cotton Field

Source: South Plains Communications website Source: South Plains Communications website

New information in the investigators of Friday's plane crash in south Lubbock County.

Fifty-year-old Jay Preston Jenkins Sr. of Lubbock crashed just west of Slaton just before 3pm. The single-engine Cessna went down in a cotton field between Woodrow Road and FM 41 and County Roads 3000 and 3100.

We spoke to a friend of the Jenkins' family, who was with Jenkins at the hospital. He said Jenkins actually notice part of the plane on fire, right after take-off.

"Apparently he was leaving the Town and County Airport," said DPS Corporal John Gonzalez.

"When he first took off, within a minute, he noticed it was catching on fire and he knew he had to bring it down," said David Higgins, who is a friend and employee of the pilot. "He started thinking about emergency procedures and what he had to do before he hit ground. One of things he had to do was loosen that door, open it - otherwise he wouldn't have been able to open it once he hit."

"He tried to lay the plane down after having problems. It flipped, crashed and caught on fire," said Cpl. Gonzalez.

"He was upside down, he loosed his belt and crawled out, grabbed the fire extinguisher and tried to put it out. It was too big so he grabbed his bag and walked away. By the time he got about 100 yards from it, it burst into bigger flames," said Higgins.

"He crawled from the wreckage and it caught on fire. He called for help, received help, and was transported to Covenant with moderate injuries," said Cpl. Gonzalez.

"He's doing fine. He's got some chest pain and possibly a broken nose, black eye and swollen lip," said Higgins.

"It wasn't as bad as it looks, so we were very fortunate," said Cpl. Gonzalez.

Jenkins was treated and released from Covenant Medical Center. He is the president and CEO of South Plains Communication.

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