SIMSBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – A federal investigation is underway after a small plane crashed in Simsbury Tuesday night.
The wreckage was found a few hundred feet off the runway at Simsbury Airport on Wolcott Road, but the pilot was nowhere to be found. It turns out he got a ride home, leaving the plane behind.
Simsbury Fire Chief James Baldis said around 8:30 p.m., a farmer was out in the field when he noticed a plane had crashed into their hoop house, which is at the end of the runway, and called 911.
“He just overshot the runway, which is basically like a parking accident, more than a crash,” Don Chamberlain with Simsbury Airport said.
When first responders arrived, they said they couldn’t find the pilot anywhere. They later learned the pilot was dropping his plane off for service and had someone else trailing him in another plane. They’re the ones who picked him from the wreckage, bringing him back to his in New York. The plane was left behind.
“This doesn’t happen every day, so live and learn, ” Chamberlain said. “So, I guess his mistake was, he should have called 911.”
Chamberlain, who was working on his plane, said the runway at the airport is shorter than the ones people learn on.
“If they’re not used to it, if they’ve come from a place with a longer runway, these things happen,” he said.
According to Baldis, officials discovered the plane had come down about an hour before the farmer called for help. At this point, Baldis said they have no way of knowing if there was a problem with the plane.
“We have discovered who the owner of the plane is, and he’s perfectly okay,” Baldis said. “Unfortunately, he just didn’t report the fact that this had happened.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), federal regulations require pilots to immediately notify the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about accidents.
“It’s definitely unusual,” Simsbury police Lt. Matt Christian said. “We would have hoped he would have alerted someone so that it would have taken us less time to confirm everyone was alright and no injuries.”
The FAA released the following statement Tuesday night:
“Farmworkers found the wreckage of a single-engine Piper PA-28 in a field near Simsbury Airport in Simsbury, Conn., around 8:30 p.m. local time today [Tuesday]. The aircraft was unoccupied. The FAA will investigate.”
News 8 reached out to the pilot about the crash, but he said they didn’t have time to talk.
Christian said the FAA is now handling the investigation.