Need more proof that football is a way of life in the South? For die-hard fans flying to see the defending national champion Crimson Tide take on Ole Miss, not even a failed engine and a crashed landing would stop their journey.
The pilot and one passenger spoke with WPMI-TV in Mobile Tuesday and filled in some of the details of what happened. Four men headed out from the Mobile area on a trip to Tuscaloosa over the weekend. It was there where they were going to enjoy the SEC home opening game between the Tide and Ole Miss.
On-board the plane was John White-Spunner, an Auburn grad, who's well know for the construction company he operates under the same name. His 'Bama friends convinced him to go along for the trip, and he hopped aboard.
Along the way, the men decided they wanted to land in Selma for some BBQ.
White-Spunner told WPMI that the trip into Selma was where things went south. An engine went out. Moments later, the other engine started to die. The plane was going down. More than 20 miles out from Craig Field in Selma, the football fans prepared themselves for a crash landing. White-Spunner told WPMI they were "getting ready, probably [going to] die..."
The plane's pilot, Capt. George Arnold, said White-Spunner pointed out a dirt road as the plane edged downward. Both wings hit the trees as the plane lost altitude, still traveling at about 100 mph. Arnold managed to sit the aircraft down in a cotton field, only to learn of a new danger very quickly. Fuel was pouring out of the craft.
Ultimately, the football fans made it out of the plane unscathed. They knelt down and "got in a circle and got on our knees and said a prayer to Jesus," Capt. Arnold said.
A family nearby heard the plane go down and drove toward the crash expecting the worst. They found four football fans who were ready to continue their journey. The game didn't start until 8:30pm, so there was still time to make it to T-Town.
The men made the trek to Montgomery where they found a rental car company. A trip started by plane ended with a long car-drive into Crimson territory. The men made it to their game, and enjoyed the big win put up by the Tide.
Meanwhile, the Dallas County Sheriff's Department scratched its head. When authorities arrived on the scene to investigate the plane's discovery there were no people around. The Sheriff's Office said the plane did not appear to be damaged.
The Federal Aviation Administration took over the investigation as was planning to retrieve the plane Tuesday.
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