Robert Gary Jones was enjoying a jog along on the beach with his iPod when a single-engine plane making an emergency landing hit him from behind, killing him instantly.
The 38-year-old father of two was on a business trip in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina when a Lancair IV-P aircraft lost its propeller and was “basically gliding” Monday evening before hitting Jones, coroner Ed Allen told AP.
“There’s no noise,” said aviation expert Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general for the National Transportation Safety Board. “So the jogger, with his ear buds in, and the plane without an engine, you’re basically a stealth aircraft. Who would expect to look up?”
Pilot Edward I. Smith and his passenger walked away from the crash landing near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa.
According to the Lancair web site, the airplane model that killed Jones is a four-seater that can reach speeds of up to 345 mph and is sold in kit that can “be easily built in one’s home shop,” with a final price tag estimated at $320,000 – $470,000.
Jones’ death is uncommon, but not unheard of: last year a Philadelphia jogger using an iPod died when a tree fell on her.
Hard to say whether volume control might have saved him, but it’s worth thinking about.