Mid-South lawyer, pilot survives plane crash thanks to parachute - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South lawyer, pilot survives plane crash thanks to parachute

(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South lawyer and pilot survived a plane crash Monday.

Prominent attorney John Farese has crashed an airplane before and was not hurt.  This time, he has injuries and a story to tell.

"I came down so hard," said Farese.  "It was the loudest noise I've ever heard.  And I thought, well I'm not dead."

His plane dropped out of the sky 50 seconds into the flight.

Farese said he planned a short flight Monday from the Holly Springs Airport to his home near Ashland.  Before taking off, Farese called his wife.

"It's 5:30, I'm going to depart the Holly Springs Airport and going to land at the house.  I'll see you soon," said Farese in the voicemail message.

Farese could not help tearing up when he heard the message as his wife played it at his law office.

"First time I've heard that," he said.

Minutes later, he made another call to his wife.

"I crashed the airplane when I took it off," said the message.  "It went out of control, but I'm OK.  They'll have to take me to the hospital.  I've got to go, love you baby."

Farese was injured.  He said he thought he had broken his back.

"I drug myself with my arms, pulled myself along the ground until I got far enough from the plane," he said.  "I thought if it does catch on fire, I can get away."

Farese credits a $25,000 parachute he had just installed in his plane with saving his life.

"It kept me from dying," said Farese.

Farese had taken his Cessna in for an annual inspection when he had the parachute installed.  When he got into his airplane to take off, he forgot something his mechanic told him just before.

"He had shut the fuel valve off," he said.

Fifty seconds into the flight, the plane started going down.

"I thought I was going to die."

Farese said he learned from his near-death experience that he needed a time out.

"This was an opportunity for me to see how many people really care," said Farese.

Farese is sore but should recover from his injuries.  He said the company that made the parachute has contacted him because it worked.

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