Phoenix man uninjured after plane crash northwest of Wickenburg

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 12:06:59-04

"It's still kind of unreal to me," Ken Kendall told ABC15, just 24 hours after he was aboard a small plane that crashed and caught fire in a desert area 24 miles northwest of Wickenburg.

"The entire timeframe I thought, I might not make it," he said. 

Kendall works in IT and was traveling with his client and friend, attorney Sam Moeller, on the way to Lake Havasu City. 

Moeller is a pilot and owns a Cirrus SR22, but his plane was undergoing repairs. Instead, he leased the same model for the trip.

Around halfway into the Tuesday morning flight, Kendall said a warning light illuminated alerting them to check the oil temperature. Things quickly took a turn for the worse, he said. 

"The engine started getting erratic, started spitting oil all over the windshield and then it died, no power." 

Kendall said Moeller quickly triggered the plane's parachute, something that quite possibly saved their lives. 

"As soon as it starts to slow down, it swings back and then as it swings back again, the nose is pointed directly at the ground," he said. "For a second there, you're in a freefall." 

Once the plane crashed, it quickly caught fire. 

"We didn't waste any time getting out." 

Workers at a mining company nearby spotted the smoke and showed up to help. Kendall said Moeller's training and instincts are the only reason he's able to tell his story. 

"I'm sure he saved our lives, without a doubt," he said. 

Kendall walked away uninjured. 

Moeller's family told ABC15 the attorney suffered three fractured vertebrae but will be OK. He could be released from the hospital as early as Wednesday night.