Emergency vehicles line River Road in North Elba following a plane crash on Saturday, July 19 that killed all three occupants. A portion of the plane, a small aircraft that ignited immediately after crashing, is visible behind the row of pines.
NORTH ELBA — Three people are dead following a fiery plane crash on Saturday morning.
New York State Police were advised of the crash off River Road in the town of North Elba around 10:39 a.m. The Lake Placid Fire Department responded and extinguished the flames.
Lesley Trevor, owner of Snowslip Farms where the plane went down, told the Valley News she was working in her barn at the time.
“I heard a loud thud and went running out,” she said.
The aircraft landed 300 feet away, between her hay and horse barn.
Within seconds, it was engulfed.
Emily Trevor, her daughter, called 911. The flames trapped four horses in the pasture. Emily rescued them.
Lesley recalled a crash on the property in the 1980s, before her time.
“That person survived,” she said. “But now, there was nothing we could do.”
The cause of the crash and the identities of the deceased are pending further investigation, said state police, who also declined to comment on the nature of the occupants’ injuries.
Authorities blocked access to River Road. On the scene, located less than a mile from the Lake Placid Airport as the crow flies, only part of the aircraft was visible behind a row of pines, a red tail.
No smoke lingered in the air and the blinking lights and yellow tape belied a quiet, even tranquil, scene.
In a co-interview with the Valley News and WSLP News Director Sandy Caligiore, Lake Placid Airport Manager Steve Short called the plane a “Mooney,” parlance for a single-engine aircraft, and said the tail number was registered to a West Virginia address.
He declined to release a name, nor could he comment on if the occupants were local residents.
Short said he was in contact with an eyewitness, a fellow pilot, after the accident.
The witness, who did not want his name made public, indicated to Short that the accident was possibly the result of a botched landing.
Short said the aircraft approached the runway from the west and attempted to land. The other pilot, who was approaching from the east, also for landing, told Short there was no indication the pilot was in trouble.
After nearly scraping its wing on the runway, said Short, the West Virginian aircraft circled back around as if to make another attempt.
Open flaps to reduce drag were still lowered from the first attempt, he said. That may have played a role, he said, noting that it was speculative on his part.
Wind conditions were calm at the time of the incident, said Short, and the airspace remained open, with some manuvering around the facility during the interview.
The aircraft did not file a flight plan, he said. None are required for aircraft flying below 18,000 feet.
ON THE SCENE
State police reps told the Valley News shortly after 4 p.m. that the Federal Aviation Administration were on route from Albany and were scheduled to arrive imminently.
Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw said he couldn’t transport the deceased to the Adirondack Medical Center for autopsies until the FAA signed off.
“We’re in a holding pattern,” he said while waiting at the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board have been notified and are enroute to assist in the investigation, said state police. The aircraft, they said, will likely remain on-site until Sunday.