News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 17, 2012

One injured when plane flips

State police report ‘non-life-threatening’ injuries to 90-year-old Putnam County pilot


The Tribune-Star

Cloverdale —

A 90-year-old pilot sustained what is believed to be non-life-threatening injuries when his experimental aircraft crashed during an emergency landing Tuesday afternoon in Putnam County.

Indiana State Police and Putnam County emergency agencies responded to a report of a downed aircraft in an open field near Cloverdale about 3:33 p.m.

The experimental class aircraft — a 1986 fixed wing, single-engine, model “Woody Pusher” — was registered to Vernon E. Bothwell Jr., 90, who also was the pilot.

According to state police, the aircraft experienced complete motor failure.

As the plane landed, it flipped over onto its top, injuring Bothwell. He was able to free himself from the aircraft before emergency responders arrived, and he was taken to the Putnam County Hospital for treatment of a possible ankle fracture and head laceration.

Bothwell had taken off just minutes earlier from his private airstrip near Cloverdale, about two miles from the crash site.

Bothwell is believed to be an experienced pilot dating back to World War II, according to state police.

On Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman at the hospital said she could not confirm Bothwell was a patient at the hospital because of confidentiality laws.

The Federal Aviation Administration has assumed the lead on the investigation.