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DFW Community Rallies to Support Marine Injured in Plane Crash

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U.S. Marine T-45 Goshawk aircraft landing on a Naval ship. | Image from Military.com

On September 19th, authorities at a news conference announced that a military training jet crashed in a neighborhood in Lake Worth right before 11:00 am. According to Military News, two pilots were injured, three homes were damaged, and three residents were “treated at the scene and released” that day.

The instructor pilot ejected himself and the student pilot from the plane before it crashed into the backyards of homes at Tejas Trail and Telephone Road. The Fort Worth Fire Department stated, “We are incredibly fortunate that the plane crashed in the backyards of the homes and not the residences themselves.”

Ryan Arthur, Lake Worth Fire Chief, said, “This incident could have been much worse knowing that this plane went down in a residential area.” The training jet was a Navy T-45C Goshawk, and it was “assigned to Training Air Wing 2 at Naval Air Station Kingsville, about 420 miles south of Lake Worth.”

They were “conducting a routine training flight that originated from Corpus Christi International Airport, about 350 miles south of Lake Worth along the Gulf Coast.” The accident caused 44 homes to be without power.

Stars and Stripes talked about the area where the crash occurred by saying the military has identified it as “a potential accident zone because of its proximity to where planes take off and land.” Military News shared that the neighborhood where the crash happened is close to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base.

J.T. Manoushagian, Police Chief, mentioned that the student pilot was the one who got tangled up in power lines due to his parachute. Navy Times stated that the young Marine was in serious condition after being electrocuted and catching on fire by the power lines.

Two Fort Worth firefighters, who were off duty, saw the crash and became the first to jump into action to save the student pilot. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the firefighters used fire extinguishers from Ole Donut and pulled the student pilot of the power lines by the parachute cord. Multiple representatives from the military base arrived quickly at the scene as well.

Navy Times stated that the instructor pilot was sent to a hospital and discharged one day after the crash. The Fort Worth Fire Department said that the student pilot was in critical condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Manoushagian shared, “I would imagine that for a pilot, this is the day that you dread, that you hope never comes.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram mentioned that the Marine student pilot is slowly recovering at a San Antonio hospital. He “was transferred to the burn center at Brooke Army Medical Center on October 27th. He had spent nearly forty days in a Dallas hospital with several back and leg burns.”

Lake Worth and Fort Worth residents immediately rushed to help when they heard of the crash. For the last month, “Fort Worth residents sent donations and gifts from a city where the sound of military planes fills the sky with the sound of freedom,” said the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Anne Pottinger is a part of the Fort Worth Airpower Council, and she led a local charity for the Marine and his family. She said, “He is so young, and so many of us had family members in similar situations, we wanted to do what we could to help.” Anne also mentioned, “The Airpower Council will include the Marine in its Christmas charity giving.”

Hugs from Heroes Foundation presented meals for the Marine. Wingman Foundation arranged an apartment in Dallas for the family of the student pilot while he was being treated at Parkland Hospital. Restaurants from Dallas and Fort Worth “sent high-protein meals” to him.

Wade Chappell of Pearl Snap Kolaches was the one who arranged meals for the Marine and his family. The restaurants that helped include Tokyo Cafe, Lettuce Cook, Bonnell’s, and Reata. Chappell said, “We sent them kolaches, hot dogs, breakfast sandwiches, really anything they wanted.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram stated that “the pilot needed high calories and protein.” Chappell mentioned, “You just don’t get that in hospital food.”

Julie O’Kelly is the wife of NAS Kingsville Commanding Officer Cmdr. Nathan O’Kelly. She helped with organizing the charities. “The student pilot is now in daily rehab in San Antonio but living in residential quarters near the hospital,” while adding, “His rescue and recovery were just incredible,” and, “People in Fort Worth have been helping from the very beginning.”

Pottinger stated, “Once he recovers, I don’t think there’ll be any stopping him from flying again,” and added, “From what I hear, he’s determined.”

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