BOWIE, Md. — Two veteran pilots took off from Bowie's Freeway Airport Thursday morning for what should have been a routine flight. Moments later, however, they crash-landed on Route 50, hitting a car in the process.
"We're just lucky that we survived it," Michael Garrah, who was riding along as the passenger this time, time.
His pilot, Julius Tolson, who goes by Warren, said he's been flying since 1990. Luckily, medics were able to treat the two of them at the scene.
"Glad I’m not hurt," Tolson said. "Blessed I’m not hurt. Still overloaded. I mean we’re still running on adrenaline, but we’re doing okay.”
The car they hit was carrying two co-workers, Eric Diprospero and Ryan McClain, said they were on their way to a job in Annapolis.
Diprospero said after they were treated at a nearby hospital in Prince George's County -- they went back to work.
"We’re happy to hear that they weren’t hurt seriously or anything like that," Garrah said.
A LinkedIn search shows that both Garrah and Tolson work as engineers in the aerospace field, so aviation transcends a hobby for them. According to a local North Carolina newspaper, the two have been flying together for years, regularly attending safety seminars.
They were flying a single engine Mooney aircraft, as they had done before many times.
The pilot said he had an "instrumentation issue" on takeoff, but the NTSB will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the crash.
"We could have got hit by a tractor-trailer, and like you said I think by the way the plane spun, I think it absorbed a lot of energy, like the wings kind of hit things and absorbed the energy, so honestly we were lucky it happened the way it did," Garrah said.
In the meantime, the pilot said he feels blessed to be able to walk away.