Swainsboro Plane Crash Survivor

Survivor of Swainsboro Plane Crash

SWAINSBORO, GA (WFXG) - A story of survival after a horrible tragedy.

The Skydiving Company released a statement today about Middlebrooks and the four men who lost their lives on that plane saying in part: "We have all lost loved ones in an incredible tragedy occurred that will remain with all of us forever --- Four amazing individuals were doing what they loved and all of us that are still here will live with them in both our memory and spirit forever."

The men who lost their lives in that crash were: Andrew Swenson of Daytona Beach, Chris Eldridge of Rincon, Justin Duff of Statesboro, and Army Staff Sergeant Aliaksander Bahrytsevich of North Carolina. The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the crash.

FOX 54's Lex Juarez spoke with Tavon Banks, a friend of William Middlebrooks, the man who survived a plane crash in Swainsboro on Saturday. It's only been two days since the horrific accident, and William Middlebrooks is already awake and responsive.

Banks said Middlebrooks loves adventure and that it will likely always be part of his life; he was a thrillseeker.

"Hey, Buddy It's William".. that's what the text message Banks got last night said. Banks said, "I was shocked that he was in a stable enough condition to text me."

Just two days ago, Banks got a phone call that also shocked him. "His mom called me and said 'Will has been in a plane crash,' and I immediately shut out everything that was going on around me, trying to figure out if he was alright and what happened."

Middlebrooks was enjoying a skydiving class... as he had done many times before. They were heading up for the fifth jump of the day when something went wrong and the plane went down.

Banks says this was surreal because this was something he and his friend had done together. "Just last year he convinced me to skydive with him for the first time," Banks remembers. They used the same company, The Jumping Place, for that trip as well.

The Jumping Place released a statement today explaining what happened on Saturday and thanking people in the community who helped in the aftermath. That statement reads in part:  "These brave men saved William Middlebrooks' life. First responders were on the scene immediately and all members of the community were incredible"

The statement released stated that Middlebrooks suffered lacerations and broken bones. Banks tells us Middlebrooks has a broken foot.

He thinks over time Middlebrooks will be back to adventuring like he loves to do. Banks tells FOX 54,  "It might take him a little while to get back into it, but I feel like he will most likely jump again."

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