Close Call: Small Plane Crash in Hanover County with a Happy Ending

Small Plane Crash in Hanover County
Image Source: WTVR

In the tranquil and serene landscape of Hanover County, Virginia, a small plane incident unfolded, leaving residents and onlookers astonished. The incident involved a minor plane crash that, against all odds, resulted in all passengers on board walking away unharmed.

As the story goes, a Cessna 172 plane, carrying an instructor pilot, a student pilot, and two additional passengers, was returning to the Hanover County Municipal Airport. However, as the pilot attempted to guide the aircraft to the airstrip, it became evident that the plane would not make it. What happened next was nothing short of miraculous.

In this article, we will delve into the extraordinary events surrounding this incident, the quick thinking of those on the scene, and the subsequent investigations.

The Hanover County Miracle

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday afternoon, State Police deputies were summoned to the 9500 block of Sliding Hill Road in Hanover County. At approximately 1:40 p.m., they responded to reports of a minor plane crash. This “minor” incident, however, would soon become the subject of local amazement. The plane involved was privately owned and was returning to the Hanover County Municipal Airport.

The aircraft was occupied by an instructor pilot, a student pilot, and two additional passengers. As the plane approached the airport, the pilot encountered a challenging situation. Recognizing that the aircraft would not reach the airstrip, the pilot made a split-second decision that would prove to be pivotal.

A Precarious Descent

Rather than taking any unnecessary risks, the pilot decided to land the plane in a nearby open field. However, this was far from an ordinary landing. During the descent, the plane’s wings struck several pine trees, causing tense moments for all on board. The plane seemed to be in jeopardy of not making it unscathed.

A Witness to Miracles

Small Plane Crash in Hanover County
Image Source: WTVR

Kyra Herring, who was with her family on their way home from a soccer game, witnessed the extraordinary events unfold. She noticed the plane’s wobbling descent and became concerned about its ability to make it to the airstrip. Her quick thinking and the decision to halt their journey led to an astonishing chain of events.

Kyra recalled the dramatic moments: “I saw a plane and I told her [Herring’s mother] to stop, and it was wobbling. I said, ‘It’s not going to make it,’ and then it hit a pine tree and rolled once and started sliding and landed right here in the neighbor’s yard.” It was a sight that took everyone by surprise.

The Miraculous Landing

What followed the plane’s collision with pine trees was nothing short of a miracle. Despite the precarious situation, the plane narrowly missed the taller pine trees and miraculously landed upright in a neighbor’s yard, nearly hitting a well. In the aftermath of this astonishing event, there was a collective sense of awe among those who had witnessed it. It was a moment that begged the question: How did the passengers escape without a single injury?

No Injuries, No Bumps

Miraculously, all four people on board the plane emerged unscathed from the incident. Kyra’s quick thinking, as she witnessed jet fuel starting to spill from the plane, played a significant role in ensuring the situation remained under control. She recounted her actions, stating, “I made it there before they got out and asked them if they were OK.

And a bunch of jet fuel started pouring out, so I backed up just in case any fire happened or anything.” It was a testament to the pilot’s skill and the fortunate outcome that no one suffered injuries. It was a day that those involved would never forget and for all the right reasons.

Investigating the Incident

After the initial relief subsided, the focus shifted to understanding the cause of the incident. While the exact reasons behind the plane’s inability to reach the airstrip remained unclear, local authorities were determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Captain Caleb Wilson, representing Hanover County Fire-EMS, assured that all safety hazards had been controlled.

The department was working in collaboration with airport leadership on “hazard mitigation” and organizing the safe removal of the plane. As Captain Wilson explained, the precise cause was yet to be determined, stating, “We do not know how or why. Ultimately, the Virginia State Police and the FAA will determine that.” Both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were notified and initiated investigations into the incident. Their findings would eventually shed light on the specifics of the miraculous landing.

A Higher Power at Play

Local witnesses, including the Herring family, were still grappling with the awe-inspiring nature of the incident. Jessica Herring, Kyra’s mother, expressed her amazement, “How did these guys survive without any bumps or bruises?” It was a question on everyone’s minds. Another family member, Eric Herring, also marveled at the outcome and suggested the involvement of a higher power, stating, “There was a higher power looking out for them…

how they came to rest, there was a little bit of help involved in it.” In addition to the witnesses, two neighbors who lived next to the crash site expressed their gratitude for the swift response of emergency crews. These crews placed sand at the scene in an effort to prevent any gas from seeping into a nearby well.

The Owner and the Plane

The investigation into the incident unveiled some intriguing details. An employee at HOVA Flight Services confirmed that the plane belonged to the flight school at Hanover County Airport. However, the owner of the plane was listed as a company called ‘First Eclipse LTD,’ based in Richmond, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


The small plane crash in Hanover County, Virginia, defied the odds and left onlookers in awe. The skill and composure of the pilot, the quick thinking of those at the scene, and the fortunate outcome highlighted the miraculous nature of the incident. The investigation by the Virginia State Police, NTSB, and FAA would eventually provide answers to the questions surrounding the incident.

For now, the focus remained on the extraordinary fact that no injuries occurred during an event that could have taken a very different turn. It was indeed a day where a higher power seemed to be watching over those on the plane, ensuring their safety and well-being.