1 pilot killed, second injured when planes go down near Green Cove Springs
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – Two aircraft crashed Wednesday after colliding mid-air not far from a private airstrip south of Green Cove Springs, killing one pilot and injuring a second, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Dylan Bryan said one of the pilots died and the second was seriously injured when both crashed near the Clay County Fairgrounds.
Troopers said one plane that was taking off from Haller Airpark off U.S. 17 when it came in hit the second plane that was operating in the area. One crashed in an open field and that pilot, David Dollarhide of Green Cove Springs, was hospitalized.
The second plane crashed into trees not far away. That pilot, 74-year-old Robert Woolley, also of Green Cove Springs, was killed.
“Dollarhide has been transported to Orange Park Medical Center where he has non-life-threatening injuries and he’s surrounded by his family,” Bryan said.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is sending a team from Orlando to investigate, identified both aircraft as Vans RV-4s. They are light homebuilt aircraft that seat two.
The FHP said Dollarhide called someone on the ground to say he’d collided with another plane and crash landed. It took authorities some time to find the second crash scene.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission assisted in searching for the aircraft.
News4Jax was told the pilots knew either other. News4Jax was told by a pilot acquainted with both men that the two often flew together, sometimes in formation.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the federal panel that routinely investigates incidents involving planes and trains, has a crew headed up from Orlando to investigate.