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story.lead_photo.caption Special to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - 08-22-2018 - First responders examine a small plane after it crash landed near the Bredlow Corner Community in Pulaski County. The pilot said he was experiencing engine problems and was trying to land at a farm airstrip. Only minor injuries were reported according to authorities.

Two people were injured Wednesday when a small plane crashed on an island in the Arkansas River near England, authorities said.

Federal Aviation Administration Mid-States spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the four-seat airplane was headed to Pine Bluff when the engine began to malfunction, causing the pilot and passenger to crash-land in a field in an oxbow of the Arkansas River.

Dan Noble, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said the two men on board -- one about 20 years old and the other about 40 -- were able to walk away from the wreckage with only minor cuts and bruises and a little back pain, but had to be flown to a hospital because of the difficulty in reaching the island.

Other than their ages, no other identifying information about the occupants of the plane has been released.

Pulaski County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Cody Burk said the initial call about the malfunctioning engine came in about 1 p.m., and that the pilot told air traffic controllers that he was going to attempt to land at the Bredlow Corner Farm Airstrip.

Authorities investigate a small plane that crash-landed in Pulaski County on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy Pulaski County sheriff's office)

The plane went down more than a mile short, however, and stopped in the field, Burk said. Images of the crash show a broken wheel and a trail of crushed, green grass leading up to the small plane, the nose of which is detached from the cockpit.

A road on the island was nearly impassable, Burk said, and delayed deputies' arrival at the scene to just before 2 p.m.

The Arkansas State Police first spotted the downed plane from a helicopter, which spokesman Bill Sadler said was flying in the area for an unrelated reason when the troopers heard about and located the crash.

Sadler said the pilots were notified of the crash about 1:20 p.m. and found the crash within minutes.

Lunsford said FAA officials were at the scene and were working to determine what engine trouble the pilot may have been experiencing.

"If it was a failure of a part and that part shouldn't have failed, that's how we identify if there's a problem on the larger fleet," Lunsford said. "What we're interested in is the probable cause of the accident."

Lunsford said the plane, a Piper Cherokee, was a popular personal aircraft and that the FAA would want to ensure the engine trouble would not be a problem for other planes.

Pulaski County sheriff's deputies remained near the crash until late Wednesday afternoon.

Metro on 08/23/2018

Approximate location of crash landing.

Print Headline: Airplane has hard landing on island in Arkansas River; 2 hurt

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