Pilot optimistic after surviving crash landing in Charlotte County

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:
Michael Mitchell. Photo: WINK News

A pilot is alive to tell the tale after his small plane crashed in the middle of a Charlotte County neighborhood Thursday afternoon.

MORE: Small plane makes crash landing in Charlotte County neighborhood

While he says he certainly felt the impact, he made it out with only a few scratches.

“If you got hit by a train at the back end of your car — you’d feel it right? That’s kind of what it felt like,” he said.

Pilot Michael Mitchell says that views from the sky are what keep him flying.

“My grandfather was a pilot, my father was a pilot, my brother is a pilot, kind of a flying family and I’ve been flying for a little over 52 years,” Mitchell said.

But Thursday marked the first time Michael almost saw death.

“When I turned my fuel pump on, the engine just quit,” he said.

Michael Mitchell survived a crash landing in a neighborhood north of Punta Gorda. Photo: WINK News

But he didn’t quit. Mitchell tried emergency procedures while radioing air traffic controls.

“I said I cannot make the airport. I can tell I cannot make the airport,” he said.

And instead of a runway, he saw Charlotte County homes below as the plane dropper lower and lower.

“I was concentrating on missing houses,” he said. “I just didn’t want to hit a rooftop.”

The plane jerked and hit an electrical pole then plummeted into a chain-link fence. Luckily no one was hurt.

“One patrolman looked in the plane and he looked around and he said to me, he says, ‘Do you know where the pilot is?’ and I said ‘I’m the pilot.’ And he says ‘you’re a lucky man.'”

The cause of the plane’s malfunction is still unknown at this time, but Mitchell says he is not staying grounded for long.

Mitchell says his plan was inspected only a month ago and he completed all pre-flight routines before the flight.

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