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A tow boat floats offshore from the scene where a small plane crash landed on the beach of Palmetto Dunes along Hilton Head, S.C., on Monday. ((Hilton Head Island Packet/Associated Press))

A 38-year-old father of two was jogging and listening to his iPod when he was hit from behind and killed by a small plane making an emergency landing on a South Carolina beach, officials said Tuesday.

Robert Gary Jones of Woodstock, Ga., was killed instantly on Hilton Head Island on Monday evening, said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen.

The small plane had lost its propeller, and the pilot's vision was blocked by oil on the windshield, Allen said.

Jones was married and had two children, the coroner said.

"Apparently he did not see nor hear the plane," Allen said. "The plane was basically gliding."

Hilton Head fire and rescue spokeswoman Joheida Fister said the identities of the pilot and a passenger on the experimental Lancair IV-P plane were not released. The two were not injured.

The plane started leaking oil at about 4,000 metres and tried originally to make it to Hilton Head Airport, Fister said.

The oil on the windshield blocked the pilot's vision and he told authorities the propeller came off the plane. When he tried to land on the beach near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa, the plane hit the jogger and came to rest a little farther down the beach, she said.

"I would have to say it's pretty unusual," Fister said.

FAA records show the aircraft was registered to Edward I. Smith of Chesapeake, Va., with a certificate issued in 2004. Smith has a private pilot's licence, according to FAA records. Nobody answered early Tuesday at a phone number listed for Smith and a message was not immediately answered.

The plane left Orlando at 4:45 p.m. ET and was headed for Virginia, Fister said. The four-seater plane has a turbo-charged engine, can be built from a kit and can fly up to 600 km/h, according to the Lancair website. The IV-P model has a pressurized cabin.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Fister said. 

Corrections

  • According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's registration, the aircraft had a TSIO-550-C engine, which is a six-cylinder, fuel injected, turbo-charged engine, not a turbine engine, as originally reported.
    Mar 19, 2010 7:00 AM ET