Thursday, March 13, 2014
MONMOUTH -- Federal authorities continue to search for the pilot and airplane that reportedly landed on the front lawn of a Fish Hatchery Road home last week.
The small single-engine plane made a hard landing in the yard of Lance and Cindy Reny's home at 47 Fish Hatchery Road shortly after takeoff.
The pilot apparently climbed out of the plane and quickly removed the wreckage.
"We sent two inspectors to the alleged crash site," said Jim Peters, spokesman for the FAA New England region. "There was nothing there when our inspectors got there."
There were multiple witnesses to the crash, none of whom noticed any injuries to the pilot, Peters said.
"A plane did crash, but we haven't been able to identify the pilot or the aircraft," Peters said. "We'd like to talk to the pilot to get information about the crash."
Monmouth Fire Chief Andre Poulin said the pilot left the crash site and returned moments later with a tractor, which he used to tow the plane away.
Poulin said the tractor was parked outside a nearby business, which also owns the field the pilot has used throughout the summer as a runway for his plane.
Poulin said investigators have been in contact with the landowners.
The crash occurred around 7 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 18.
Lance Reny, who was out of state at the time, has been told the plane might have had mechanical difficulties shortly after taking off from the field, which abuts Reny's property.
"I heard he took off and he was trying to get back and crashed it in (my) field," Reny said.
He said the plane landed within 200 feet of his home.
Cindy Reny said she was returning home when her son, who had been outside mowing the lawn, called to tell her about the crash.
"He barely missed the wires," she said. "He had no place to go but my field."
Neighbors said the plane was damaged, including landing gear that was broken, but the pilot was not injured.
"From what I understand he was more concerned with getting that plane moved than anything else," Lance Reny said.
Reny said the plane has been a nuisance all summer.
"He takes off awful low and buzzes right over the top of the house, probably 10 or 15 feet above the house," Lance Reny said. "I'm glad the plane is gone. I'm glad it didn't hit the house."
Cindy Reny has been so concerned about the plane that she recently contacted the FAA.
Poulin said he got a call the night of crash reporting that the plane had landed in a field, but because of a misunderstanding, Poulin believed the plane had landed on the runway it has used all summer.
"We didn't realize he had landed in a yard until the next day," Poulin said. "That's when we called the FAA."
Poulin said he has noticed the plane flying over town all summer, but neither he, the Renys nor neighbors know who has been flying it.
The FAA will keep looking until it finds the mystery pilot, Peters said.
"Our guys are tenacious," he said. "We will identify the pilot."
Peters stopped short of calling the plane's removal a crime, but he said aircraft involved in crashes are typically controlled by the FAA until investigators have examined the wreckage.
"The aircraft should have remained in place until we had an opportunity to inspect it," Peters said.
He encouraged the pilot, or those who might know him, to call the FAA at 780-3263.
"We have a lot of questions," Peters said. "Hopefully we'll get to meet the pilot and find out what happened and why he removed the aircraft."
Craig Crosby -- 621-5642