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70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 4:45 PM CST
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DAWSON COUNTY, Texas (KCBD) - A 70-year-old man has only minor injuries after crashing a small plane in a desolate area in West Texas.

The crash of the PA22 TripAcer happened on the evening of Jan. 13, 2022, about 15 miles east of Lamesa, Texas. It was around 7:30 p.m. when the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office received the call.

70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help
70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help(Lubbock Civil Air Patrol)

The Lubbock Civil Air Patrol reports it was alerted to a missing plane on Jan. 14. The pilot, 70-year-old Dennis Harrington, of Hobbs, NM, walked to a distant road to get help. The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office found him, but Harrington could not tell them where the plane crashed.

70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help
70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help(Lubbock Civil Air Patrol)

Sgt. Steven Blanco with DPS says Harrington was able to look up a map on his cell phone before he lost reception and knew the closest major roadway was Hwy. 180. He was able to call for help. He reported he lost control of the plane. He was flying from Addison, Texas to Hobbs, NM and was trying to land at the Lamesa airport to refuel.

70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help
70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help(Lubbock Civil Air Patrol)

Dawson County Sheriff Matt Hogg says a deputy, one person from EMS and one person from Fire drove on Hwy. 180, then began walking north to the last known location of the plane. Sheriff Hogg says the team reported they walked about 3.5 miles before finding Harrington. He was taken to the Medical Arts Hospital in Lamesa and had minor injuries.

Civil Air Patrol Commander Kyle Vernon says Harrington walked South for two hours over the rough terrain with steep drop-offs. The sun had already set when the plane crashed.

See the location of the plane below.

Because of the high winds and blowing dirt in the area, DPS could not use its helicopter to help find the crashed plane. DPS reports the Dawson County Sheriff’s Department, EMS and Fire were able to find the plane the next day with the help of the Lubbock Civil Air Patrol.

A ground-team member from Lubbock used a personal drone and was able to find the downed plane in a single flight, which helped the team eliminate 40 percent of the search area.

The plane was found around sunset the day after the crash.

70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help
70-year-old pilot walked for hours after plane crash to find help(Lubbock Civil Air Patrol)

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