Woman who witnessed plane incident says God spared her life


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local woman said she’s thankful to be alive after witnessing a plane come crashing through the Daniel Field Airport fence, right in front of her car. Barbara Ann West said her story is now her testimony.

Other than missing church that day because her husband was under the weather, it was a typical Sunday for West that included visiting her son.

“I stopped there and then on the way home, I stopped on Wrightsboro Road and got some gas,” she told us.

And then she made that turn onto Highland Avenue.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw the plane going up and I said ‘oh my God it seem like the plane is going to crash.’ But what had happened was he was going through a fence,” West recalled. “He crashed through the fence and went on to the other side.”

NewsChannel 6 was there two Sundays ago when the Beechcraft Baron 58, owned by Frank Dolan but flown that day by Robert Stuntz Junior, did not land and stop on the Daniel Field Airport runway. Stuntz told authorities engine failure prevented him from doing just that. But the plane’s owner, who did not want to go on camera, claims it was mechanically sound.

West, a retired pastor from Allendale, South Carolina, found her red Dodge van in the middle of the mayhem.

“When he went through the fence, the fence, he pulled it from the frame and it kind of wrapped around my car,” she said.

That vehicle still has scratches on the front and back ends and on the roof of the car, a cost Ronald West said is estimated to be about $7,700 in damages. West and her husband Ronald said they are still waiting on the pilot’s insurance company to handle it all. And though Barbara Ann drives 95 percent of the time, Ronald said he’s now behind the wheel more. Still, she told us she’s thankful, sharing her testimony in church and for all who will listen.

“You know, I don’t even think I’m giving God enough praise because if I had kept driving, that very well could have been a tragedy,” she added.

The NTSB launched an investigation into the incident. While that work is being done, we reached out to the manufacturer and a mechanic said engine failure on a Beechcraft Baron 58 will not prevent the brakes from working. But through it all, West said she knows what does work.

“You just have to live and put God first in everything that you do. I truly thank God that he spared my life,” she said.

We expect a preliminary report from the NTSB in a few weeks.

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