Lauren Scruggs Accident: Pilot Tried to Warn Model About Plane Propeller, Report

 @julia_greenberg
on January 17 2012 4:41 PM

A preliminary report on the plane propeller accident involving Lauren Scruggs, 23, has been released from the National Transportation Safety Board. The report indicates that the pilot tried to stop Scruggs from walking into the plane propeller that led to serious injuries to her shoulder, face and left hand.

Scruggs returned from a flight on Dec. 3, 2011, after watching Christmas light displays across Texas. When she climbed out of the two-seater plane at Aero County Airport in McKinney, Texas, she accidentally walked directly into the small plane's propeller and the blade sliced the left side of her face and shoulder and severed her left hand. She was immediately taken by helicopter to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Although the pilot did leave the propeller running as Scruggs exited the plane, he told her to walk behind the plane rather than in front of it, the report claims.

[The pilot] opened the door on the right side of the airplane expecting a friend to come out and assist his passenger in deplaning. After he opened the door, the passenger started to get out of the airplane, the report states.

Upon noticing that she was exiting in front of the strut, the pilot leaned out of his seat and placed his right hand and arm in front of her to divert her away from the front of the airplane and the propeller. He continued to keep his arm extended and told the passenger that she should walk behind the airplane, it continued.

Scruggs, however, appears to have continued forward and was hit by the plane's propeller. Following multiple surgeries, Scruggs' face and shoulder have been reconstructed, but surgeons were forced to amputate her hand and remove her left eye.

Although the Texas blogger is slowly recovering from the accident, she has been experiencing severe pain. Doctors continue to encourage Scruggs, explaining that she has had a miraculous recovery and is progressing well considering her circumstances.

Prior to her accident, Scruggs was the Editor-in-Chief for an online fashion magazine, Lolo Magazine. She had also worked as a part-time model and in the wardrobe department of the CW television Show, Gossip Girl. She recently interviewed Twilight star Kellan Lutz for New York Fashion Week.

The pilot remains unnamed in the report, but he was identified earlier by the Collin County Sherriff's office as Kurt Anderson.

The NTSB full report (via Fox 4 News):  

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA125 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Saturday, December 03, 2011 in McKinney, TX Aircraft: AVIAT AIRCRAFT INC A-1C-180, registration: N62WY Injuries: 1 Serious. This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 12, 2011, about 2050 central daylight time, a passenger of a parked Aviat Aircraft Inc., Husky A-1C, N2364G, contacted its rotating propeller after exiting the airplane on the ramp of the Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas. The airplane was registered to Shell Aviation, LLC, McKinney, Texas, and was being operated by a private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The passenger was seriously injured and the pilot, who was the only other person remaining on board, was not injured. The flight had originated from T31 and had just returned from flying in the local area to view holiday lights from the air.

According to the pilot (as he recalls the event), after landing from the planned 20-minute flight, he stopped the airplane on the ramp with the engine running in anticipation of taking another passenger to view the holiday lights. He opened the door on the right side of the airplane expecting a friend to come out and assist his passenger in deplaning. After he opened the door, the passenger started to get out of the airplane. Upon noticing that she was exiting in front of the strut, the pilot leaned out of his seat and placed his right hand and arm in front of her to divert her away from the front of the airplane and the propeller. He continued to keep his arm extended and told the passenger that she should walk behind the airplane. Once he saw that the passenger was at least beyond where the strut was attached to the wing, and walking away, he dropped his right arm and returned to his normal seat position. The pilot then looked to the left side of the airplane and opened his window to ask who was next to go for a ride.

The pilot then heard someone yell, STOP STOP, and he immediately shut down the engine and saw the passenger lying in front of the airplane.

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