Teen Pilot, Girlfriend Explain How They Survived Plane Crash

The 17-year-old pilot dodged power lines, homes before landing on a golf course.

ByABC News
March 21, 2016, 9:07 AM

— -- Two high school seniors are recovering from various injuries after their rental plane experienced engine failure and crashed on the way home from a spring-break vacation.

Certified pilot Christian Dell, 17, and his girlfriend, Nicole Klusner, 18, of Andover, Kansas, had saved up their money to rent a small aircraft for a few days of fun in Nashville, Tennessee.

The nearly two-hour journey home Friday was smooth sailing until the last leg of the flight. "It just started spluttering and it ultimately failed," Dell said.

Klusner said, "I didn't know what to do or what was going on. The first thing I thought about were my parents."

"I was just looking at him [Dell], trusting he knew what to do and praying to God that we were going to be OK," she added.

Indeed, Dell's emergency training kicked in as he missed Kansas homes and power lines, and dodged trees, eventually crash landing the plane on the 14th hole of a golf course.

Residents who saw the rough landing ran to the rescue, getting both teens out and off to the hospital where they were treated for concussions and head injuries.

Klusner praised her boyfriend for his skills: "He just did his job and that's how we're alive right now."

Wichita Police Department Lt. Paul Duff told reporters, "From what I was told, the pilot did an excellent job."

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what went wrong.