Pilot rescued from plane after it goes down in Chesterfield Vall - KMOV.com

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Pilot rescued from plane after it goes down in Chesterfield Valley

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A pilot was rescued from a plane crash near the Spirit of St. Louis Airport in the Chesterfield Valley (Credit: St. Louis County helicopter). A pilot was rescued from a plane crash near the Spirit of St. Louis Airport in the Chesterfield Valley (Credit: St. Louis County helicopter).
CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A pilot was rescued from a plane crash near the Spirit of St. Louis Airport in the Chesterfield Valley. 

But rescue crews say they had a difficult time finding him. While helicopters were searching, volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol got called in from home to locate the pilot, identified as Ramakrishna Vallurupalli.  They used a radio directional beacon to locate the plane's transmitter and found him within ten minutes.

“Eventually the helicopter would have been able to find him," Stanley Edwards of the Civil Air Patrol said. "The key here was they thought he crashed in Hollow Island when in fact he crashed in the soybean fields. They just weren’t searching for him in the right area at the time."

The members are volunteers who come in on their own time.

“We probably train once a month if not more on this type of scenario so it was great to it to use and see that it came out with a successful result," Edwards said.

The Director of Aviation at Spirit of St. Louis Airport says a single engine plane went down just off the edge of the airport grounds. Emergency crews responded.

But when Vallurupalli called after the crash, he did not know his location. Crews cast their search coverage between a two-or-three mile radius. Boats also searched the nearby waters. 

The St. Louis County helicopter flew above the search, with the Arch helicopter on standby. After a two-hour search, the plane was found by a helicopter, just northwest of the runway. 

Vallurupalli, who is from Chesterfield, was the only person on-board. Crews has to cut open the plane to get to the pilot. Neighbors tell News 4 he is a doctor who flies as a hobby.

Roger Herin, Fire Marshall of the Monarch Protection District, said Vallurupalli was alert and speaking with rescue workers as they removed him from the plane. The plane was located in a field with tall weeds, explaining why no one could see the aircraft from the road. 

"That is one of the difficulties in finding the airplane in an underdeveloped area, there are no reference points," Herin said. "It's hard to find something when there are no reference points."

Vallurupalli was transported to a local hospital. Chesterfield police say he suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.

The cause of the crash is not known. The FAA is in the early stages of its investigation.

News 4 will update this story as more information becomes available. 

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