Two people suffered minor injuries Friday afternoon when a small plane made a forced landing in Yorktown, NY, on its way to Norwood Memorial Airport, MA, according to local, county and federal officials.
The area of the crash scene is at the entrance of the IBM research facility at Pines Bridge Road, just north of the town border with New Castle. Officials said the plane, a BE36 Beechcraft, was en route from Teterboro (NJ) Airport when it developed mechanical problems and the pilot attempted to divert to Westchester County Airport.
Officials said the two men in the plane were treated at the scene by medics and then taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. They were conscious and alert with non-life threatening injuries when emergency responders arrived at the scene.
"This is a miracle," Lt. Robert Noble said of the crash and the way it ended. "I mean it really is. It's a miracle there wasn't a fatality."
The plane was reported to have crashed at 4:35 p.m. as it entered the field from the northeast. It belly landed on the grassy field, up on a small hill.
"It's a tragedy that was averted here," Lt. Noble said.
Police were still speaking with witnesses about the situation and officials were trying to get a handle on the pilot's injuries.
"Thankfully he landed and did a hell of a job landing," Lt. Noble said.
Sal Lagonia, of Yorktown, who is an aviation lawyer and a safety consultant, said it looks like the pilot was intentionally looking for an open field to land. He diverted to the Westchester County Airport, but had to land sooner.
"There's a billion things that could go wrong," Lagonia said. "It looked like he had to find a place to come down. That's what pilots typically do."
The plane is a 1996 private aviation craft that is registered to Mark Ehrenzeller of Hopkinton, MA. Officials have not yet confirmed the identities of the two men. It was not clear whether Ehrenzeller was the pilot.
Neighbors, IBM employees and children in the area surrounded the site, which is just a few hundred yards from the day care center Country Children's Center on Pines Bridge Road.
Michell Cambareri, who lives near by on Crow Hill Road, was walking her dog when she said she saw the plane flying low near the trees. There was no smoke or flames coming out of the plane, but she heard the engine sputtering.
"I saw the plane flying in the air, having engine difficulty and it was sputtering," she said. "Then, it looked liked the pilot was trying to turn on the engine again, but every time he tried, it just cut off."
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