Pilot Dies In Plane Crash

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Nov 21, 2007 at 12:17 AM EDT

A pilot is dead after his plane crashes in Broome County.

The Greater Binghamton Airport says it quickly lost contact with the pilot just after takeoff in the Town of Maine.

What happened next is still unclear.

A crash, followed by an explosion.

Just before five p.m. Tuesday, a plane hit the ground, about a mile from the Greater Binghamton Airport.

"I didn't know if it was a shotgun because it's hunting season or if something hit the house. I looked around and didn't see anything," says Linda Lambiase of Maine.

"We heard what sounded like an explosion at that time. It actually sounded like it was on the roof. I came outside and looked up there to see if a tree had fallen on the house," says David Titcomb of Maine.

Emergency crews from across the county lined Knapp Road in the Town of Maine for a rescue mission.

Broome County says the small Mooney aircraft crashed in a wooded area nearby and burst into flames.

Air traffic control lost contact with the plane, destined for Albany, shortly after take off.

Crews used ATVs and 4 wheel drive brush trucks to reach the scene.

"Emergency personnel then, upon extinguishing the fire, entered the aircraft and located the pilot, who unfortunately didn't survive the crash," says Brett Chellis of Broome Emergency Services.

The name of the pilot has not been released, because officials are still trying to contact the family.

"Certainly, more than anything, it's a tragedy and we feel for the family and we feel for the pilot most of all," says Airport Commissioner of Aviation Carl Beardsley.

No one else is believed to have been on board.

Some commercial flights in and out of the airport were cancelled due to foggy weather.

But, the plane that crashed was cleared for takeoff to Albany.

The cause of the crash will be under federal investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Air Administration are making their way to the scene, just beyond Knapp Road.

Broome County sheriff's deputies are securing the site, so it remains undisturbed.

The FAA and the NTSB should arrive Wednesday.

But, the Airport Commissioner of Aviation doesn't expect quick results.

"When they do an investigation, its very thorough and normally you're not going to get a response from them within a week. It's going to take maybe 6 months to a year at times," says Carl Beardsley.

Knapp Road from Flint to Dunham Hill Road will be open to local and landfill traffic only, until the federal investigation is complete.

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