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Plane crash in Lancaster Co. sends pilot to burn center

Updated: Wednesday, September 11 2013, 06:28 PM CDT
Reported by: Christina Butler

EAST LAMPETER -- A Lancaster County man is in a Delaware County hospital with severe burns after his plane crashed at the Smoketown Airport in East Lampeter Township.

Authorities say the 74-year-old was taxiing on the runway when his plane suddenly veered off the runway and crashed into a hangar. The hangar caught on fire.  Matt Bono, chief of the Witmer Fire Company, says airport workers and people nearby immediately helped.

"Before we arrived, personnel from the airport were here and used fire extinguishers to try and control the fire. Also a water tanker truck was located just off airport property, and one of their trucks was here and was able to get here quick and start fighting the fire until the fire company arrived," Bono said.

The man was flown by helicopter to the hospital.  This is the third crash at the Smoketown Airport in the last year. In March, 30-year-old Michael Blank was killed when his ultralight plane crashed immediately after takeoff. And in July, two people were not injured when their plane had to make an emergency landing in a nearby corn field.

"It's bad luck I guess," Bono said. "I mean this airport sees thousands of planes take off each year, I guess it's just some bad luck has happened lately."

The septuagenarian's plane was described as an experimental plane, and other aircraft owners at Smoketown say the man was a regular at the airport.

The FAA and the NTSB have taken over the investigation.Plane crash in Lancaster Co. sends pilot to burn center


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