FARMINGDALE – A pilot from Sanford who is also a pastor made an emergency landing in a hayfield in Farmingdale about 4 p.m. Tuesday after his small plane lost power.

Todd Bell, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, glided in under power lines and landed safely.

He said the engine gave out as he was returning to Sanford from Augusta, where he had dropped off three other preachers.

“It was the only field I could make it to,” Bell said about an hour after the incident. “When I committed, I saw there were power lines running down the middle of it. I had to go under them. I couldn’t make it to the turnpike.”

Bell, 40, who has been a pilot for 11 years, walked away from the Piper PA 32-260 and sought assistance at the nearby home of James and Nancy Norton, owners of the field.

“I was reading a book,” Nancy Norton said. “I happened to look out and, my God, there’s a plane in the field.”


Her husband accompanied Bell back to the plane. Not long after, Farmingdale fire and rescue personnel arrived, along with state police and other investigators.

Mindy Compagna, 22, of Farmingdale, who lives across the road from the field, said she heard the plane land.

“It was kind of like a rumbling on the field,” she said. She and her mother drove to the site.

Bell said he was in radio communication with another pilot who was circling the downed plane and assisting him.

“I’m thanking God; I’m giving God all the glory,” Bell said.

The plane is owned by Wings with “The Word”/Next Town Ministries, a ministry out of the Calvary Baptist Church.


Comments are no longer available on this story