VSP: Pilot fighting for life after Essex County plane crash identified

Local News

Crews spent hours extricating the pilot from the wreckage

A pilot is being treated at VCU Medical Center for life-threatening injuries following an early-morning plane crash in Essex County.

Virginia State Police identified the injured pilot as William D. Boswell IV, 25, of North Chesterfield. Boswell was the plane’s only occupant.

VSP said it was alerted to a distress call from a pilot at roughly 4:20 a.m. Search efforts began immediately, and the small, private aircraft was found in a swampy area near the Tappahannock-Essex County Airport at 6:13 a.m.

Flight logs show the unidentified pilot leaving from Richmond International Airport around 3:30 a.m. Monday. According to authorities, the pilot was en route to Easton, Maryland.

The FAA did not confirm or deny the pilot’s destination to 8News.

According to flight logs on Flightaware.com, he was in the air for less than 20 minutes before the plane nosedived into a swampy, wooded area near the Tappahannock Airport.

VSP says they got a distress call from a pilot about 40 minutes later.

It took hours for crews to extricate the adult male pilot from the wreckage. At approximately 9:30 a.m., he was flown to VCU Medical Center with injuries that VSP described as ‘life-threatening.’

The crash “posed additional challenges to rescue crews trying to safely reach the aircraft,” VSP said in a release.

About the rescue efforts, Rob Rowley with Henrico Fire said Monday “our tech rescue team today helped augment and support the first responders already on scene from (Tappahannock-Essex) fire and rescue and provide them with equipment and techniques to gain access to the patient.​… and then get the patient out of the aircraft and then transport them across some pretty difficult terrain.”​

PHOTOS: Essex County plane crash

The Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Essex County Fire & EMS, Henrico County Fire, and King & Queen County Fire all assisted at the scene.  The Fire Service also blazed a trail for easier access to the scene. VDOT assisted with providing equipment.

Authorities said the plane model was a “Cirrus SR22” model. The plane is equipped with parachutes. Often in emergencies, the parachute will deploy and the plane will come down under it.

According to Stormtracker8 meteorologists, the weather was clear and calm at the time of the crash.

The FAA and NTSB have notified. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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