Plane that crashed off Matinicus recovered

Posted July 23, 2011, at 2:37 p.m.
Last modified July 24, 2011, at 5:24 a.m.

MATINICUS, Maine — A plane that crashed July 17 off Matinicus Island has been recovered and is on its way to Knox County Regional Airport for further investigation.

Knox County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said Saturday that a crew from Prock Marine had successfully recovered the plane from the water and was transporting it on a barge to the airport at Owls Head. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating what caused the plane to crash near the island, which is about 20 miles off the Maine coast.

There were four passengers aboard the plane, two of whom were seriously injured. The pilot, Robert Hoffman of Penobscot Island Air, is credited with crash-landing the plane in the ocean in a way that avoided any fatalities.

Hoffman took off from Matinicus at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 17, in a single-engine, five-passenger Cessna 206. The plane’s power failed about 200 feet above sea level, according to previous reports in the Bangor Daily News. Hoffman turned into the wind and landed in the water about 150 meters off the island.

The passengers were Eva Murray, 47, of Matinicus; Abagail Read, 56, of Appleton; and Karen Ford, 53, of Waterville. Hoffman helped the three women escape through a front window of the plane, which quickly sunk in about 40 feet of water and left the foursome clinging to a piece of wreckage.

An emergency beacon in the aircraft notified authorities of the accident and nearby fishermen Robert Young and Clayton Philbrook rescued the survivors, all of whom are recovering from their injuries.

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