NPR logo Disabled Plane Kills Jogger On Hilton Head, S.C. Beach

Disabled Plane Kills Jogger On Hilton Head, S.C. Beach

Joggers getting killed by cars, buses and trucks are the kinds of accidents we've all heard of.

But a jogger on a South Carolina beach being killed by a plane falling from sky? That's just about unheard of. In fact, I can't think of ever hearing of another case like it and a quick search of the Internet turned up nothing similar.

According to a piece by the Hilton Head, S.C. newspaper, The Island Packet:

HILTON HEAD ISLAND — A Georgia man was running and listening to his iPod on the beach on Hilton Head Island when he was killed by an airplane that made an emergency landing Monday at Palmetto Dunes, the Beaufort County Coroner's Office said today.

The victim was identified as Robert Gary Jones, 38, of Woodstock, Ga. Authorities say he probably did not see or hear the plane coming down because it had no power.

The single-engine airplane made an emergency landing near Palmetto Dunes at about 6:10 p.m. Monday.

The plane experienced engine trouble over the water about an hour and a half after leaving Orlando Executive Airport in Florida, bound for Norfolk, Va.

The aircraft was flying at about 13,000 feet when air traffic controllers told the pilot to land at Hilton Head Island Airport.

But before the male pilot and his male passenger reached the island, oil began to leak onto the windshield, blocking their vision, said Joheida Fister, Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue Division spokeswoman.

The plane's propeller came off. The men decided to make an emergency landing on the beach, she said.

The men were not injured. No other injuries were reported.

What an extraordinary way to die. It was a latter day "shocking accident" to borrow the title from a Graham Greene short story which features a man who's killed by a pig that falls from a Naples, Italy balcony.

But, of course, that was fiction though Greene said it was based on a real incident. The Hilton Head accident was unfortunately all too real.