published Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Chattooga plane crash victims recovering; probe ongoing

Two men who were hospitalized this week with injuries from a plane crash in Chattooga County, Ga., have been discharged, and their identities released.

On Tuesday around 7 p.m. James Howard "Tut" Wallace, the plane's pilot, and passenger Richard Heath Hammond crashed in the front yard of Hammond's Summerville property, located on Old Highway 337, in a single-engine 1940 Taylorcraft BC-65 airplane.

According to an incident report from the Chattooga County Sheriff's Office, deputies arrived to discover Wallace lying on the ground beside the left-hand side of the plane, with a foot still inside, and Hammond standing outside the plane with lacerations on the left side of his face. Fire personnel took over patient care until emergency medical personnel arrived.

Hammond was taken by ambulance to Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Ga., and Wallace was flown by Life Force air ambulance to Erlanger in Chattanooga.

According to Floyd Medical Center representatives, Hammond was treated in the emergency room and discharged the same day. Erlanger representatives could say only that Wallace no longer was listed as a patient in the hospital's computer system.

No date of birth was given for either party in the incident report from the Chattooga County Sheriff's Office, but Hammond's birth year is listed as 1981, and Wallace's as 1942.

The Federal Aviation Administration began investigating the wreck on Wednesday.

The investigation is ongoing, and a preliminary report should be available on the National Transportation Safety Board website 10 days after the accident, said Kathleen Bergen, with the communications department of the FAA.

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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