NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Federal investigators are looking for answers about a plane crash in New Hanover County. The FAA began its investigation today after a man crashed his plane yesterday in the parking lot of Veterans Park.
According to one witness, 72-year-old Ted Stone was trying to land his experimental plane in the Pilot's Ridge subdivision when the top of his plane clipped a pine tree and landed him over here in this parking lot.
"People worry about these planes, but they're a lot safer than that car out there," Frank Goggio said. Goggio watched as his friend, neighbor and fellow pilot Stone fell from the sky Sunday. "Any time you have a crash like this, being dead is always a concern. He was very fortunate in this incident. We all are any time you have an incident. Car or airplane, it don't make a difference."
The plane and pilot are not new to the sky. The Baby Ace Amateur plane was built in 1955, and Stone's been flying planes since 1969. Pilots say even though it's a homemade plane, it's a reliable piece of craftsmanship.
Stone survived the crash but suffered some broken bones and lacerations. Friends and neighbors helped arrange for the plane to be taken from the crash site and say despite his injuries he's happy to be alive.
According to the FAA, it's going to take at least three days until they come to a conclusion as to why the plane crashed. The National Transportation Safety Board is not investigating the crash because it was an experimental plane and no one died. The FAA will complete its investigation and then pass its report to the NTSB.