Woman describes pulling 3 men from Knoxville plane crash

By  | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Three adults were transported to UT Medical Center after a small plane crashed just south of downtown Knoxville, according to the Knoxville Police Department. No one on the ground was hurt from the crash.

Crews with the Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville Fire Department, and Rural Metro were dispatched to the scene in the 1100 block of Groner Drive at Laurans Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.


The Knoxville Police Department identified the adults on the plane as Gerald Marotta, Michael Spinazzola, and Robert Gintz, all from the Knoxville area. On Wednesday, UT Medical Center said Marotta and Gintz had been discharged, and Spinazzola was later discharged on Friday.

The FAA started their investigation Wednesday morning. Authorities are now working to remove the aircraft from the property.

A representative with the Knoxville Police Department described the plane as a 1975 Aztec twin engine with tail number N40285.


The residents of the home where the plane crashed in the front yard were lodged at a hotel Tuesday evening by police.

Neighbors nearby during the crash described what it sounded like. Dexter Jordan said, "I just heard something, like I thought it was a car coming down the street, or a motorcycle."

Jordan said the passengers escaped the plane and were "in a daze."

Alyssa Lewis was nearby when the plane crashed, and she jumped into action to rescue the pilot and crew from the wreckage.

"It literally went over us and could have hit any of us, we were standing in the kitchen and could have not even known what happened," she told Local 8 News reporter David Ball Wednesday. "From there, all I could think was if something happened and the plane exploded, there's people in there, we gotta get the people out."

Lewis' parents followed behind her and hosed down the plane to keep it from catching fire.

"I wasn't really thinking about anything, I was thinking if we get them out, we need to get them across the street and then we can figure out what's going on with them," Lewis said.

A first aid class and a short time in the Navy may have helped her pull the men to safety, but Lewis said it was just the right thing to do.

"There wasn't time to be scared, this could blow up at any moment and of course I don't want to be here when that happens," Lewis said.

While the pilot was thankful Lewis was there to help, she said the very first responder was the entire neighborhood coming together.

"I just feel that they are lucky to have landed in a neighborhood where everyone cares and many people know what to do in that situation," Lewis said. "Everyone was calling 911 to the point it was blocked off. It was just really fortunate they landed where they did."


On Wednesday, crews worked to clear the plane away from the neighborhood. The scene was clear and the road was fully reopened by Wednesday evening, police said.