BOONE COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - Officials have identified a pilot severely injured after his plane crashed in Boone County late Tuesday night.
Naseem Malik, 55, from Orchard Park, NY was transported by Air Care to University Hospital. Malik is currently listed in critical condition.
The crash was reported at around 11 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Rabbit Hash Road and Dale Williamson Road, about three miles (by air) up the hill from Rabbit Hash and about six miles west of Union.
Authorities on the scene say Malik had to be extricated from the plane. Nearby residents called 911 after hearing the plane crash, and helped to stabilize the pilot until EMS arrived.
"You could hear him as soon as you opened the truck door 'help, help' and that's when we ran down there," neighbor Elly Williamson recounted.
"We grabbed our mud boots, Woody grabbed the truck and we went running," fellow neighbor Cindy Schuster said.
"I could see he was in rough shape, anytime you wreck a plane you're in rough shape," Cindy's husband, Woody, said. "He was awake and talking. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying."
Schuster says she and her husband used their experience as nurses to help keep the pilot's airway open while they waited on emergency workers.
"Staying upright he was able to maintain," they explained. "The position and holding his head he actually maintained an airway."
The team of caring neighbors may have seemed like angels in the night to the pilot, but for the Schusters they didn't give it a second thought.
"You just do what you have to do, it's what we do every day," Woody said.
Crews from the Bellevue MacVille Fire District, Burlington, Union, Petersburg, and the Airport Fire Department came to the scene.
The plane is a Cessna T210 registered to RAM Aircraft LP, which is based in Waco, Texas. It is listed as having been built in 1969. According to an FAA official, the pilot had just purchased the plane and was on his way to Buffalo, New York from Waco.
The FAA official says the pilot was flying VFR, or visual flight rules, which did not require him to log a flight plan. Investigators did recover an emergency locator transmitter from the single engine plane.
Initial reports were that a passenger was missing from the plane, but investigators are now saying that no passengers were on board. Searchers on the ground and in the air using the infrared camera on the Hamilton County Sheriff's Helicopter couldn't find a second person.
Aiding neighbors say the man seemed to indicate there was another passenger when asked but say his condition may have caused confusion and that it was difficult to understand him due to his injuries.
The search for the passengers was called off around 1 a.m.
The FAA was at the scene Wednesday morning investigating the crash. According to a preliminary report, the aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. They have confirmed, however, that the pilot had contacted air control at CVG to initiate a fuel stop, but fell off radar before he was able to land.