2 safe after plane crashes on pond

Posted July 03, 2009, at 3:53 p.m.

CLIFTON, Maine — A pilot and his passenger are lucky to be alive after the single-engine Cessna floatplane they were flying in went down Friday afternoon on Chemo Pond.

Though authorities would not release the name of the pilot or his passenger Friday, they did say that both men walked away from the crash.

“Luckily, nobody got hurt,” Eddington fire Capt. David Hughes said at the scene.

“Apparently, they were taking off and their engine went out. They circled back and hit the water real hard” as the pilot attempted to land along the shoreline, said Hughes, one of several members of the Eddington Fire Department who responded to the crash.

The floatplane, however, did not fare as well. The airplane, which landed in the tree line along the shore off German Cove Lane, had damage to one of its wings, bent float struts and damage to its pontoons. It was unclear if any fuel leaked into the water.

According to state police Trooper Michael Johnston, Chemo Pond camp owners reported the plane crash just before 3 p.m.

Based on preliminary interviews he conducted on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration, Johnston said it appeared that the plane suffered a mechanical malfunction. He said he could not release the names of the people involved but confirmed they were not injured.

Johnston referred all other questions to the FAA, which he said planned to have an investigator at the crash site on Monday.

The pilot, who was at the scene Friday afternoon, appeared to be unscathed. He declined to be interviewed. The owners of the camp near which the plane was tethered ordered reporters and photographers off of their property.

People staying at neighboring camps said that the plane appeared to lose power, then crashed into the lakeside, hitting some trees with one of its wings.

Jim Peters, a public affairs contact assigned to the FAA’s Eastern Region, said the federal agency does not release the names of pilots, crew and passengers of aircraft involved in accidents.

He did, however, say that the floatplane was registered to Chad Gates of Clifton, but that a sale was pending and it was not immediately clear Friday who was in possession of the aircraft.

On May 3 of this year, Gates had posted a classified advertisement on a Web site on which aircraft and real estate properties associated with aircraft can be sold or traded. The asking price was $59,900.

dgagnon@bangordailynews.net

990-8189

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