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Friday, May 31, 2013

N.J. - Pilot Killed, Student Critically Injured After Small Plane Crashes

NEW JERSEY  - The pilot of a small plane is dead and the passenger is seriously injured when their aircraft crashed onto train tracks next to the former General Motors factory in Linden, N.J.

The two seat diamond airplane crashed nose first and then broke apart in the area of S. Stiles Road. The aircraft is a Diamond DV-20 Katana aircraft with two people on board.

58-year-old pilot, Craig MacCallum of Montclair, NJ, who was instructing a young male student pilot, died in the crash according to Linden police.

Airport officials say immediately after takeoff from Linden airport around 1:10 pm, the plane had trouble and it was barely able to clear the area's buildings. The plane apparently made a turn back towards the airport and called a mayday.

"They were unable to gain altitude. Shortly thereafter, they announced a mayday on the radio. The staff observed the aircraft flying very low and immediately called 911," said Paul Dudley, Linden Airport Manager.

Officials say MacCallum was from the Best in Flight Company based in Linden who tried to make an emergency landing on the site of the old GM plant, which is a large open space. 

"I'm sure he probably went to try to land in the field and, unfortunately, there was debris and he ran out of field," said Dudley. 

The plane crashed on top of an unused railroad track. Officials say both men are in serious condition and that the older pilot was in more badly hurt than his student.

One of the people was initially trapped in the plane and was extricated by emergency crews.

The FAA is currently on scene and the National Transportation and Safety Board has been called. Fox 5 has learned heat may have played a role since very hot air thinner less lift, 93 degrees at time of crash.

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