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Seventeen-year-old Lorrie Benningfield was waiting in her car Monday afternoon at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School where her mother works when she looked up and saw an airplane strike a power line and begin to spiral.
“I didn’t even know it was a plane at first,” Benningfield said. “I saw it spiral near where the line was on the pole. I think it hit nose first.
“At first, I just froze. I didn’t know really know what to do, but then I tried to call 911. Of course, I didn’t get through because I guess there were a lot of other people calling.”
The single-engine plane carrying three passengers crashed just across the street from the Hodgenville school. Students had just been dismissed, and teachers were still packing up.
Abraham Lincoln Elementary fifth-grade teacher Karlotta Cecil said she was standing in the school’s parking lot when she heard a loud noise.
“I turned, and I saw the plane hit the top line,” she said. “I ran into the office to tell them to call 911.”
Pilot Joshua Marksbury, 31, of Buffalo was unconscious but breathing, said Norm Chaffins, Kentucky State Police public affairs officer. Chaffins described his injuries as “incapacitating.”
Marksbury’s wife, Jamie, 32, and their son, Jacob, 4, also were injured, he said, but were conscious when officers arrived to the scene.
All three passengers were airlifted, Chaffins said.
Chaffins said the plane took off from a grass landing strip behind Lincoln Jamboree. Both are owned by Joel Ray Sprowls.
Joshua Marksbury is an experienced pilot, Chaffins said. After taking off, the plane started to go back down, and Marksbury applied the brakes.
He said it clipped a tree and then a wire on a telephone pole before spinning around and crashing nose first.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration registry, the airplane was a fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft manufactured in 2003 by Diamond Aircraft Industries, Inc.
The registered owner is listed as Honaker Aviation Inc., in Bardstown, according to the FAA registry.
This is the second local plane crash in four weeks.
A single-passenger plane went down in a field near West Park Road in Elizabethtown on July 20. The pilot was not injured.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750.