Plane crashes at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The lone occupant of a plane that crashed just before noon Thursday at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport has been transported to University of Michigan Hospital.
Kristin Kasten, supervisor at Huron Valley Ambulance, said crews were sent to the scene near South State and Ellsworth roads at 11:43 a.m. Thursday after the aircraft went down.
Witnesses said the occupant was trapped in the plane for an estimated 30 minutes while Pittsfield Township police and fire extricated him from the wreckage.
Joyce Williams, spokeswoman for HVA, said the man was transported in serious but stable condition to the hospital.
It appeared to be a fixed-wing single-engine aircraft licensed by a company from Flat Rock.
Rescue crews were leaving the scene by about 12:30 p.m., though investigators remained near the fallen aircraft.
Lynn Crum, facilities manager at the airport, told the Associated Press the plane took off and circled around before crashing.
The two-seater plane with an overhead wing took off before crashing into a grassy field northwest of the runway, according to Pittsfield Department of Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger. The man was pinned inside the cockpit at the legs, Harshberger said.
Pittsfield firefighters used hydraulic rescue tools and saws to remove the wreckage, he said. It was about 30 minutes before the man could be freed and taken to the University of Michigan Hospital, Harshberger said.
“He was conscious and, beyond that, he had injuries and went to the hospital for those,” Harshberger said. “He was talking with people at the scene.”
Fluids from the airplane, including gasoline, did leak from the plane but there was no fire.
The airport’s tower closed the airport to all air traffic Thursday morning and it remained closed Thursday afternoon as Federal Aviation Authority and Pittsfield Township investigators conducted their review.
Harshberger said there is a fire station near the airport and it took crews about one minute to respond to the crash. He praised the firefighters who cut the man out of the plane — removing the engine in order to free the man’s lower legs — and other responding personnel for getting the man out as safely as possible.
“We were on scene quickly and we did what we had to do to get him out,” Harshberger said. “The firefighters and police officers did a great job.”