1 dies, 1 hurt in Edgewater plane crash Pilot had tried to land at airport

April 18, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

A small single-engine plane crashed in an Edgewater cornfield and burst into flames yesterday afternoon, killing one person and critically injuring another.

Authorities had not identified either victim as of yesterday evening and remained unsure if the person who died was a pilot or a passenger in the two-seater Cessna, which was bound for Ocean City from Hagerstown.

Capt. Gary Sheckells, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, said the crash occurred about 3:15 p.m. after the plane tried to make an emergency landing at Lee Airport, south of Annapolis.

The pilot had radioed the tower at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and said he had lost partial power in the plane's engine. A tower official told him to land at Lee Airport.

A flight instructor at Lee Airport, who was in radio contact with the plane before the crash, said the pilot tried to make an emergency landing and came within five feet of touching down on the runway before a heavy tail wind prevented the landing.

Greg Lougue, 30, said he was outside with his hand-held radio and watched the plane as the pilot said he had lost partial power in the engine. The pilot swooped in over the runway, but could not bring the plane down.

"I was just listening to him," said Mr. Lougue, who lives in Severna Park. "He even said he was going to try and land downwind."

After missing the runway, Mr. Lougue said the pilot tried to turn the plane around -- possibly to line up with the runway again, but clipped a power line and crashed upside down in the field, about 50 yards from Solomons Island Road, a half-mile north of the runway.

Twelve fire engines responded, and firefighters found the plane engulfed in flames, Captain Sheckells said.

AWhile firefighters doused the flames, other rescue workers pulled the two men from the cockpit.

One man was pronounced dead on the scene.

The other suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body and was flown by state police MedEvac helicopter to MedSTAR at Washington Hospital Center, where he was in critical condition. Authorities could not provide either victim's age.

Three Anne Arundel County police officers were slightly injured -- one suffered a minor burn on his hand -- during the rescue.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene last night trying to determine a cause.

Captain Sheckells said officials were trying to trace the plane's owners through serial numbers and a flight plan to identify the victims.

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