Plane crash survivor talks about accident a year later - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Plane crash survivor talks about accident a year later

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CARTERVILLE --  A Williamson County plane crash survivor recalls a terrifying day.

A flight instructor explains how he survived a deadly plane crash at the Williamson County Airport.

"The Lord has done absolute miracles. It was a miracle from the very beginning." says Todd Greiner.

One year ago Saturday, Greiner took off with student John Alleman on a fateful flight.

"People don't appreciate what the Lord has done unless they appreciate how bad things were," says Greiner. 

Pictures tell a story of tragedy and faith that Greiner sums up in one word: "miraculous." 

On June 10, 2016, around 4:30 p.m., fight instructor Todd Greiner took off for a training flight with long-time pilot and friend, John Alleman.

The two performed what he calls an "engine out" maneuver, when he says something went wrong.

"We were coming around what's called a left base to come in to land, and the plane did a couple of very erratic maneuvers I would never do, and John would never do so their had to be a reason," explains Greiner. 

Greiner has no independent memory of what happened that day. All of his accounts were told to him by others.

"There's speculation, but nobody really truly knows exactly what happened," says Greiner. 

The accident left him with severe traumatic brain injury. Alleman died from multiple impact trauma.

"We had a good friendship. He was a lawyer in Carbondale and very well liked by many people. Highly respected. A very kindhearted man." 

Greiner spent months in different hospitals over the past year.

"I had a broken palate, a broken jaw. My mandible was broken. I had both lungs were bleeding very bad, one of them had collapsed," explained Greiner.

 Just eight months after the crash, Greiner, took to the skies again. He admits to being scared at first.

"I didn't want to let fear win. I just couldn't do and actually, the moment I took off it was very exhilarating again and I felt like I had never missed a day flying." 

He says the FAA has since grounded him for a minimum of four years, due to his brain injury.

"I did come extremely close to losing it all. I mean, I was certainly ready for heaven, but I do greatly appreciate all that's been given to me and I'm so deeply thankful," says Greiner.

He hopes one day to return back to instructing from the sky, and on June 10 he'll be thinking of Alleman. He says the National Transportation Safety Board has not yet released a full report on the crash, but expects the full report soon. In the meantime, Greiner he says he is doing well and will face more minor medical procedures, but says that's nothing compared to what he went through.

He recently began telling his story to schools and churches and believes there's only one reason he survived.

"It's not a testimony about me. It's a testimony about Jesus Christ and His grace and power in what he did in my life," says Greiner.

If you would like to contact Greiner to hear him share his story, you can contact him at

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