Plane crashes rarely have happy endings.
But the smiles on the faces of those who milled about the wreckage of a yellow crop duster that crash landed inches away from a home in rural Washington Wednesday evening told that unlikely story: A pilot was left with minor scrapes and bruises in the torn-apart plane, and a family was left unscathed by its impact.
"I'm just really glad to see that [the pilot] didn't get hurt or killed," said Craig Jones as he continued to survey the wreckage in his yard. "And that it didn't hit our house was a bonus."
Craig Jones and his wife, Holly, were in their garage at about 5:45 p.m. when they heard a plane flying just a few feet overhead. They then heard a dull "thud," Craig said, and they saw a bit of dust as the pilot made an emergency landing, splintering the plane.
Craig quickly called 911 and Holly sprinted toward the crash to check for injuries. But Holly said she was surprised to find the pilot meeting her before she arrived at the wreckage.
"I just gave him a hug and he said, 'I'm sorry I'm sorry'," she said. "I'm glad he's alive and we're alive. It could have been much worse."
The pilot, Michael Hayman of Leland, Mo., refused medical help at the scene, the Washington County sheriff's office said.
No one in the Jones family was hurt, including 14-year-old Desirae, who was sitting just one room away when debris from the plane shattered two basement windows but did not damage the rest of the home.
Holly Jones said she was impressed with the rapid response of Washington County rescue units, which arrived in about 10 minutes.
The sheriff's office said it did not yet know why Hayman was forced to make an emergency landing. The crash is under investigation, and the Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted to respond to the scene.
In the meantime, Holly Jones will continue to beam with with the assurance that she'll have a happy eternity."I heard that if your house gets hit by a plane, then you automatically get to go to heaven," she said. "This counts."