TULSA, Okla. - Two pilots said it was a miracle they were able to help find another pilot, who crashed in rural Wagoner County over the weekend.
The pilot who crashed has some broken bones but is going to be okay.
Carl Potter and Walter Warren were on their way to the airport in Haskell on Saturday for their traditional meet up with other pilots. It was the first one in weeks because of the pandemic. The group usually meets every Saturday for coffee and donuts.
Potter and Warren were flying in the only AutoGyro in Tulsa.
"It's not a helicopter and it's not an airplane,” Potter said.
On their way, they were asked to help look for a pilot who had crashed in some nearby trees.
"It's really just a blessing. I'm not a hero. Just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Potter said. “Everything came together. It's a God thing as far as I'm concerned.”
Potter said his aircraft gave him a unique advantage in the search. It can fly low and slow, down to 30 miles per hour.
While they were searching from the air, a man named Roy Harris was on the ground. Harris called the pilot who crashed. Harris said the man didn’t answer the first time, but, to everyone's surprise, the pilot answered after a second try.
The man, whose plane was upside down and mangled, communicated to Harris when he heard the gyrocopter flying over him. Harris radioed that information back up to the sky.
"So, he's telling us, 'You just passed over him.’ So, every time we did, we kind of marked that spot then we'd come back over so we triangulated, figured out where he was,” Potter said.
"To be able to find him when we couldn't even see him. The fact that he was even able to call, or talk on his phone, is a miracle. He was badly injured,” Warren said.
The team was then able to lead firefighters and deputies to the scene, which helped get the pilot to the hospital as quickly as possible.
"I'm thankful that he's alive. He's got a beautiful little daughter. I'm glad she still has a dad,” Warren said.
The NTSB has taken over the investigation. The pilot's name and the cause of the crash have not been released. Potter and Warren have met the pilot before and said they can't wait to talk with him again sometime soon.