PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A Valley lawyer is recovering in the hospital tonight, after the plane he was piloting crashed near Wickenburg Tuesday.
The two people on board survived the crash, and the passenger even managed walked away unharmed. The pilot was taken to the hospital. On Wednesday, the passenger onboard, as well as one of the first people to arrive at the crash site, spoke out about their experiences.
"I just hope that that engine holds on for another five minutes, and it didn't," said Ken Kendall, the passenger onboard.
"We see black smoke," said Wyatt Pennington, via a phone interview. "We knew black smoke, and smoke isn't desert, so we knew it was either a truck or an airplane."
As it turns out, the smoke came from a plane that was piloted by local personal injury attorney Sam Moeller.
"The engine starts active sporadic, and spitting oil all over the windshield, and then it seized," said Kendall.
The pilot had to make a quick decision.
"Sam [Moeller] had two options: to try and coast away from the mountains and find somewhere flat to land, or pull the emergency chute on the plane," said Kendall, who went on to say that Moeller immediately pulled the chute, as the plane began to plummet to earth. The impact was intense.
Meanwhile, Pennington says by the time he and his friends got to the crash site, which involved a one-mile hike, both Moeller and Kendall were out of the plane, and the plane was on fire.
"They were both in shock," said Pennington. "Real shaky, anxious, frightened."
"So he gets out on the wing, and I go over to his side and everything is on fire and there is bushes and trees, so I jumped back into the cockpit body, slam my door, got it open, there was fire on my side too," Kendall recounted. "So, we both had to basically jump through the fire to get away from the before it was completely engulfed."
Both Kendall and Pennington say the parachute worked.
"It's a miracle they landed and were able to get out," said Pennington. "They no longer slipped out than it was engulfed in flames."
Kendall escaped without any serious injuries, but was slight burned from the flames. Meanwhile, Kendall says Moeller suffered three fractured vertebrae, as well as several other injuries. Moeller, Kendall says, was due to be released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.