Updated: 05/19/2014 10:59 AM
Created: 05/19/2014 9:09 AM KAALtv.com
(ABC 6 News) - The pilot, who crashed his small plane in Fillmore County on Saturday, says he feels both lucky and a little unlucky at the same time.
Carl Koch is a former Colonel in the Air Force Reserves and South Dakota Air National Guard. He spoke to ABC 6 News from his home in Mitchell, South Dakota this morning.
Koch says he, his wife and daughter had driven to Wisconsin to buy an experimental Preceptor Ultra Pup. He was flying it back to South Dakota, as his wife and daughter were driving back, when he crashed near the city of Mabel.
Koch says he had just refueled at the Houston County Airport and was about 15 miles west of the airport when he started to lose power. He attempted to return to Houston County, but couldn't make it. He says he was trying to put the plane down in an open field when he realized he wasn't going to make it and was going to land in trees instead.
Koch said, "At the last moment I put the stick into my lap, so to speak, in an attempt to stall the plane just above the tree tops and let it fall into the trees with the least amount of momentum. And that's exactly what happened."
The plane ended up falling all the way to the ground, landing nose first. Koch says he bumped his head and got a pretty good gash on his head as well, but was able to get out of the plane, call his daughter and walk towards a nearby farm.
He was picked up by a passerby and met up with an ambulance and Sheriff's Department deputies back at the crash site.
His wife and daughter eventually drove him to the emergency room in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
As for feeling both lucky and unlucky, Koch says, "I got my family. My family has me. Everything else shrinks to insignificance."