Passenger Shares Story Of Survival, Forgiveness After Pilot In Keystone Lake Crash Pleads Guilty

The passenger in a plane crash at Keystone Lake is sharing her story of survival and forgiveness after the pilot admitted in federal court that he lied to the NTSB about what caused him to crash.

Tuesday, June 4th 2024, 7:03 pm



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The passenger in a plane crash at Keystone Lake is sharing her story of survival and forgiveness after the pilot admitted in federal court that he lied to the NTSB about what caused him to crash.

"I felt kind of a relief, just cause after two years, finally, like the truth has come out,” Bailey Nevill said.

The crash happened in the summer of 2022, and Nevill said she was not given any safety instructions before takeoff. She said she was expecting a one-hour joy ride with an experienced pilot. Instead, she found herself 10 feet underwater, fighting for her life.

Nevill shared a video with her parents just moments before crashing into Keystone Lake, showing her view from the air.

She said pilot Bruce Forbes was showing her "water dancing," flying low around the lake when they hit power lines.

"We hit the power lines, and then all I kind of remember after that was the plane spinning, and I remember looking out and just seeing us spinning. And I knew that we were about to crash,” she said.

Once they crashed into the water, Nevill said Forbes put his arms under hers and tried to pull her out of the seat. But they only had a few moments before the plane started sinking.

"We were sideways, and the water was rising,” Nevill said. “We were in the middle of the lake. He was screaming at me. And once the water got above my chest Bruce then decided to let go of me and swim away."

Nevill said she went down with the plane -- trapped inside with a seatbelt around her waist, that she did not know how to unbuckle. 

"My last thought was, 'Lord save my soul,’” she said. "Somehow, underwater, like by the grace of God, I was able to get my seatbelt undone.”

Nevill swam to the surface and credited a man and woman who were in a nearby boat with bringing her and Bruce back to shore.

But the two of them had different stories for investigators.

He claimed there was a problem with the engine, and while troubleshooting, hit a power line.

In federal court Monday, Forbes changed his plea to guilty, saying in court documents that he knew his statement to the NTSB was false. The statement reads in part, “I was flying low over the water around the curves of Lake Keystone and struck power lines, causing the plane to crash into the lake. I believed if I told NTSB investigators the truth, their investigation would find that I was flying in an unsafe manner and I would have difficulty receiving insurance payments."

Forbes' LinkedIn account says he was a pilot at United Airlines for more than 30 years.

Nevill looked at his aviation school website before the ride.

"It looked amazing. He had so many credentials and I definitely trusted him to fly me in a plane, in a small plane, for my first time,” she said.

Nearly two years after the life-changing ride, Nevill is grateful.

"I definitely forgive the pilot,” she said. “I know that stuff happens. But I just hope that he learned a valuable lesson, and I'm just thankful that we are both alive and not as hurt as we could have been."

Forbes' sentencing date has not been set yet, but the crime can carry a punishment of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. News On 6 spoke with him on the phone Tuesday, and he declined to comment. 

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