Pilot in TBM Avenger crash identified

March 8, 2009 11:24:52 AM PDT
The pilot was taken to the hospital after a vintage plane caught fire.The TBM Avenger bomber crashed at the Millville Airport shortly before 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

The plane was doing "touch and go" exercises when the incident happened.

Reports indicate the pilot, identified as Terry Rush, managed to jump from the plane before it slammed into the runway, leaving the priceless piece of history literally in pieces with nothing, but charred chunks of metal behind.

Millville Airport manager Dave McCarthy says the plane caught fire midair, rolled down the runway, and Rush exited the plane about 400 feet from where the plane's debris sits.

According to McCarthy, the three man plane, which was first produced in 1941, was based out of the Millville Airport; it is not known if the pilot was the owner of the plane. Former President George Bush Senior was shot down by the Japanese while flying this type of aircraft.

"This is a restored torpedo bomber, like the one George Bush flew in the second World War," McCarthy said.

Rush is in critical, but stable condition. He was flown to Crozer-Chester Medical Center from the Millville Airport.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is expected to take some time.

Black boxes are not onboard planes of that age

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