WINNIE — No one was hurt when a single engine Boeing PT-17, known as a Stearman biplane, crashed Saturday morning while the pilot was trying to take off from State Highway 124 at the Rice Festival Parade site in Winnie.
A preliminary crash report filed by the FAA states that the Boeing PT-17 "aircraft was departing from a road and lost power and struck a power line in Winnie, Texas." It indicates the only person on the plane, the pilot, sustained minor injuries and there was 'substantial' damage to the plane. Records indicate Paul A. Sachitano of Beaumont owned the plane, built in 1942, and Sheriff Hawthorne confirms Sachitano was piloting the plane.
Sheriff Brian Hawthorne tells KFDM/Fox 4 the plane had been towed to the parade and was on a trailer while taking part in the parade. The pilot decided to fly back to the airport due to approaching rain. Sheriff Hawthorne tells KFDM/Fox 4 no one from his office nor the Rice Festival thought it was a good idea.
Sheriff's deputies stopped traffic and the pilot tried to take off from the highway. The plane was in the air when it appeared to clip cables holding up the traffic lights on State Highway 124 near Broadway. The plane crashed and landed upside down on the grassy median.
The sheriff says the pilot wasn't hurt and no one on the ground was hurt.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.