Lifestyle & Human Interest

Father, Son and Their Dog Miraculously Survive Small Plane Crash 'Without a Scratch'


A Kansas family is safe after their small plane crash-landed into a tree in Okaloosa County, Florida, on Sunday morning.

Pilot Jason Dougherty, 46, his son, 22-year-old Caleb Dougherty, and their dog boarded a small Beech Bonanza aircraft headed for Destin, Florida, for vacation, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

According to the news release, the pilot noticed the aircraft was having engine trouble as he prepared to land at the Destin Executive Airport runway.

Despite the plane narrowly missing a house and landing nose-down in a tree, all three walked away from the aircraft unharmed.

“47-year old Jason Dougherty of Garden City and 22-year old Caleb Dougherty of Salina, as well as a Labrador retriever flying with them, somehow survived without a scratch after just missing a home and landing in a tree in the area of Main Street and Planet Drive around 10 a.m.,” the OCSO stated.

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According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, Destin resident Beth Cann, who lives down the block from where the plane crashed, heard about the accident from her son who had been out riding his bike when he saw the plane in the tree.

“He came back and said, ‘Oh, by the way, there’s an airplane in a tree,’” Cann said.

“He said everybody was fine, there were two guys and a dog, they’re out of the plane.”

The woman who lives in the house just feet away from the plane crash was reportedly not home at the time, the outlet reported.

By the time the woman returned home, there was a plane in her tree and neighbors moving a ladder toward the aircraft’s door so the men and dog could safely exit.

Cann said that because their neighborhood is located so close to the airport, residents have long been concerned that an airplane would eventually end up missing the runway and landing in the neighborhood instead.

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“We’re not in the direct path of the flight landing, but we’ve always said that it’s not a matter of if it’ll happen, but when it’ll happen,” she said.

“This is a perfect example — everyone is extremely lucky.”

The OSCO said that the National Transportation Safety Board planned to investigate the accident.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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