Ultralight hits house, causes no injuries

Matt Buedel

Elizabeth Klein thought little of the drone outside her living room window Thursday as she nursed her 4-day-old son, Ryan.

The neighbor flies his ultralight aircraft often enough that the hum wasn’t out of the ordinary, but this time it got louder than ever.

The new mom barely had time to look up before a broken wing fragment crashed through the window behind her, puncturing the back of the recliner where she was sitting.

“(Baby Ryan) had woken up, and I was just starting to nurse him,” Elizabeth Klein, 27, said. “He calmed right down, but I was very upset.”

Miraculously, neither any of the Klein clan nor the pilot of the plane, Joe Murdoch, were injured.

Williamsfield Police Chief John Kellogg said Murdoch had only been airborne for a few hundred yards before succumbing to shifting winds and losing his lift.

The aircraft hit grassy ground a few hundred feet from the Klein’s brick farmhouse off Illinois Route 180 and bounded underneath power lines into a tree near the front door. That impact swung the plane around and forced the wing through the window.

Other than the broken glass, only a gutter on the outside of the Klein house appeared to be damaged.

“He said he took off and the wind direction wasn’t right,” Kellogg said of Murdoch’s explanation for the crash. “The wind wasn’t picking him up and he went down.”

Murdoch couldn’t be reached for comment.

Kellogg said representatives with the Federal Aviation Administration were en route to Williamsfield — a town of about 600 in Knox County roughly 25 miles northwest of Peoria — to investigate the crash.

The Kleins are just relieved no one was hurt during the 8 a.m. crash, especially Ryan, their first child who was born Sunday and came home for the first time Tuesday evening.

Jamie Klein, 36, wouldn’t have even been home to calm his wife and care for the boy if the infant hadn’t kept him from his usual work schedule as a farmer and trucker.

“Any other day, I would have been gone to work by that time,” he said.

Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or