Mystery plane leaves witnesses scratching their heads

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Windows rattled, photos fell off of walls, and people from Little River all the way to Surfside heard the noise of a low-flying plane passing over their houses Monday evening. Now, they can't find answers to why it was flying so low.

"He was still smoking," said John Kijewski, who saw the plane from his condo in Little River. "He dropped altitude, even while he was over this building."

Witnesses say they saw a small aircraft, possible a jet, flying low over homes in the Grand Strand area. Kijewski believes the engine was smoking.

"I heard him throttle down and saw the smoke," he said. "I knew there was a problem there."

Calls made to Myrtle Beach International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration produced few answers, each saying no planes had made distress calls, or had filed a flight plan over that area. But aviation experts say not all planes have to submit flight plans.

"There are certain rules for military craft that are different from your commercial planes," said Jeremy Bass, of Huffman Helicopters. Bass and other aviation experts say some training exercises even require engines to be shut down or burned out for pilots to react.

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