A neighbor, Chris Koehn, was watching from his front yard and saw the plane go down until a line of trees blocked his view.
"We heard the popping noise of the engine and it disappeared behind the trees and we heard a crash," Koehn said. "I drove back in there part way and he was walking out. He seemed OK and I picked him up. By that time 10 minutes had passed and I was looking for smoke but the fire hadn't started by then."
A fire erupted shortly thereafter, further destroying the airplane; and Richards and Deerfield fire departments responded to the crash as did an ambulance from the Vernon County Ambulance District.
Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman noted, "It's lucky he's out, walking around."
Based on what those at the scene had to say, engine failure currently appears to be the most likely culprit, and Peckman said the engine will be analyzed.
At this time, the FAA plans to turn over further investigation over to the insurance company involved, since there was no loss of life, Peckman said.