Beaufort News

Father, son survive crash in plane that departed from Hilton Head

Federal transportation officials are investigating the crash of a plane in the backyard of a home near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport after it departed from Hilton Head Island Airport on Monday night.

Brandon Freeman, 35, of Alpharetta, Ga., and his son, Anthony Barnes, 11, were injured when their single-engine Cessna crashed in DeKalb County at about 7:45 p.m., according to Dekalb County Fire Rescue officials.

The plane was en route to the airport when it lost power about two miles away, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

According to FAA records, the plane was built in 1965.

The plane's engine died and its wings had been sheared off by trees in the heavily wooded residential neighborhood before landing in the yard, DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said.

Parts of the plane were suspended 30 to 40 feet in the trees, Brennan said.

"It's a miracle" the man and his son survived, he said.

Homeowner Tom Wroblewski said he did not hear the plane crash but heard the boy screaming. He helped the boy out of the plane, while the pilot was able to climb out on his own.

There was no smell of fumes nor any flames, Brennan said.

The two were taken to local hospitalswith several cuts and scrapes, but the injuries were not life-threatening, DeKalb Fire Rescue Chief Edward O'Brien said.

O'Brien said fire crews were dispatched after the pilot reported fuel trouble moments before the crash.

"The fuselage looked like it spun in a circle and landed right in an open space in the backyard. It didn't cause any damage," he said. "I have heard they ran out of fuel, but it hasn't been confirmed."

Public safety personnel secured the site until investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived early Tuesday.

Follow reporter Cassie Foss at

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Related content:

Small plane that left Hilton Head crashes near Atlanta, Oct. 17, 2011

Cracked crankshaft led to kit-built plane's Hilton Head crash, official says, March 26, 2010

Witness, officials: Plane's victim likely unaware of approaching danger, March 16, 2010

Man on Hilton Head beach struck, killed by plane making emergency landing, March 15, 2011