Posted on December 24, 2012 at 9:00 PM
Tuesday, Dec 25 at 12:16 PM
SAN ANTONIO – From the skies above on Christmas Eve, Raymond Alonso would’ve thought a sleigh and reindeer were swooping down on his home.
“Honestly, it just sounded like thunder. The house kind of shook a little bit. That’s all it sounded like: Boom!” Alonso said as he watched emergency crews descend on his house on Possum Way.
It was no Santa sighting. Instead, a single-engine, experimental aircraft came crashing down into his backyard. The bright and shiny plane broke up, just steps away from his porch.
“I was just getting my gifts in order, about to start bagging some up, write out some gift cards I had bought…and then this!” he added.
The plane is registered to Donald Sammon, a pilot who lives on the other side of the airstrip at the Twin Oaks Air Park—where homes and hangars intermix in a unique neighborhood.
The pilot and passenger escaped with their lives. According to relatives, the plane’s rudder became inoperable. That forced the plane down just after take-off.
Neighbors said children were playing in backyards when they saw the once-in-a-lifetime air show.
Thomas Severyns said, “Luckily, they were on the opposite side of the house where the plane crashed. After that we went over to see the guys. And they were getting out of the plane.”
The crash becomes the fifth accident reported at the small airstrip in the last 30 years.
And residents say it may perhaps be the most memorable, given that both men aboard survived to spend the holiday with their families.
“Christmas Eve to remember, that’s for sure,” added Alonso.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.