HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (CN) – An experimental airplane that lost a propeller killed a jogger on the beach, officials said Tuesday. Robert Jones, 38, was listening to his iPod as he jogged, and the plane hit him from behind, Hilton Head authorities said.
Jones, of Woodstock, Ga., a drug company salesman, was about to return from a business trip for his daughter’s third birthday. He died instantly, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said.
The single-engine, experimental aircraft had lost its propeller and the pilot’s vision was obscured by oil on the windshield, officials said.
Joheida Fister, a spokeswoman for Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue, said pilot Edward I. Smith and an unidentified passenger left Orlando, Fla., aboard the Lancair IV-P aircraft at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and were headed for Virginia.
The plane started leaking oil at about 13,000 feet, and Smith tried to make it to Hilton Head Airport. But a propeller came off and he had no choice but to try to land on the beach near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa, Fister said.
Smith declined to speak with reporters at the scene, saying only, “I’ve got a lot of issues going on right now.”
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.