GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Black smoke covered a portion of US 421 near the Guilford and Randolph County line Tuesday after a two-seater plane crashed around 11 a.m.
Nathan Perkins knew the plane was in trouble moments before the impact.
“It was super weird, I was like man, what’s going on, I mean this plane just keeps getting lower and then I saw a guy waving out of the window and I thought oh no, something is wrong,” said Perkins.
He watched the struggle in the sky near Monnett Road Bridge.
“I could see the plane, you know, kind of come in and straighten out over the highway, and then they started getting a lot lower, closer down towards you know the road level, and you could see the passenger waving out of the window,” he said.
Perkins, who has some flight hours himself, knew he had to do something to help whoever was in the single-engine plane.
“I jumped out and now another guy pulled over and we immediately ran over,” said Perkins. “The plane had already burst into flames, the passenger was on his way out, you know, still kind of in flames and everything, but we got him out, we got him rolling down the hill to get the fire off of him.”
The small plane turned into an inferno before Perkins’s eyes.
“So bad, I mean, the flames were so thick you couldn’t see if there was anyone else in there.”
The plane’s pilot, Kurtis Dale Williams, 52, of Kernersville, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The second victim is in critical condition. Hours after the plane crash, Perkins admitted he couldn’t shake what he saw and felt.
“Just a terrifying feeling of there’s someone in there, if we’re able to, we got to get them out before this thing goes, I mean you could smell the fuel and everything it had already burst into flames,” said Perkins. “It was just a matter of time before it exploded and just trying to get to them before that happened.”
Investigators from the NTSB are set to arrive on the scene Wednesday to begin their investigation. A preliminary report should be released in around two weeks.