Plane crashes into man on lawn mower during landing at North Carolina airport

John Rufty's hand was severed during the accident in Alexander County.

By Evan Bleier
Subscribe | UPI Odd Newsletter

ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C., April 28 (UPI) -- An elderly North Carolina man lost his hand after he was struck by a plane while riding a lawn mower at Taylorsville Airport in Alexander County.

The pilot of the plane, 84-year-old Edward Eugene Sisson, didn’t see 74-year-old John Rufty on his lawn mower until just before impact. Rufty’s left hand was severed by the propeller of the plane during the collision.


State Highway Patrol Sergeant Brian Owenby told the New York Daily News that Sisson was touching down on the airport’s grass landing strip on his way to visit family in the area.

No one was on hand to warn Rufty about the plane because the airport doesn't have a traffic controller.

"(Rufty) wouldn't have been able to hear or see the plane coming," Owenby said. "And the pilot was unable to see the driver until just before impact."

The National Transportation and Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident but no charges are pending at this time.

Sisson was not injured during the accident.

Latest Headlines