Plane crash

A single-engine plane, left, lies crushed in a grassy field near Vaiden, as authorities survey the scene of the non-fatal crash Thursday afternoon. In the center background is the private airstrip where the pilot, Walter J. Mitchell, was reportedly trying to land.  

A Carroll County candidate for supervisor was airlifted to a Jackson hospital Thursday after the plane he was piloting crashed while trying to land at a private airstrip near Vaiden, authorities say.

Walter J. Mitchell of Vaiden was flying the single-engine Beechcraft B23 Musketeer with three passengers — another man and two children — when the aircraft came up about 50 yards short of the grassy airstrip around 2 p.m., according to Carroll County Emergency Management Director Ken Strachan.

Mitchell, who is running as a Democrat in District 5, was alert but pinned into his plane by the impact that was heaviest on the pilot’s side of the aircraft.

“We had to take the passenger seat out to be able to get the pilot out,” Strachan said.

He said Mitchell was conscious, and there was no fire from the crash. Mitchell was airlifted from the scene by helicopter to University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition early Thursday evening. According to a statement provided by Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker, Mitchell’s injuries were not life-threatening.

Strachan said he did not know the names of the other passengers, and Walker declined to identify them, saying, “I’m going to wait on the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) before releasing any information.”

The three passengers were taken by ambulance “to a local hospital with minor injuries,” Walker’s statement said.

According to the FAA’s registry, the fixed-wing aircraft was manufactured in 1969 and owned by Mitchell. It had taken off earlier Thursday from the Winona Municipal Airport, Walker’s statement said.

The Vaiden Volunteer Fire Department was also summoned to the scene of the crash.

In addition to the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Mississippi Emergency Management Association were notified of the crash, Strachan said.

Contact Tim Kalich at 581-7243 or tkalich@gwcommonwealth.com.

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