The quiet neighborhood of Bayport turned chaotic when a single engine plane crash-landed at the intersection of Second and Third Avenues, which is just a stone’s throw away from the Bayport Aerodrome. Somehow the plane missed houses and people in a residential section of Bayport on Long Island as it came crashing down.
According to Newsday on April 11, the four-seat Piper caught fire when it crash-landed in the street with two men on board, the pilot and a passenger. Witnesses described the plane taking off from the Bayport Aerodrome, which is the last all-grass airport open for public use on Long Island, and then they could see that it was in trouble.
The harrowing scene was described by witnesses who watched as the pilot fought a losing battle to keep the plane in the air. After takeoff from Bayport the pilot must have realized something was wrong because it appeared if they turned around and were heading back, according to witnesses on the ground. They tried, but they didn’t make it. They landed about a football field-length away from the grass runway.
ABC News reports almost immediately after the plane took off from the airport, it started to lose power. The pilot was in the process of circling back to the airport when the engine cut out, causing the plane to crash-land on the street.
James Gallo, 16, heard the plane stall twice over his house before coming down. As soon as that plane fell to the Earth the neighborhood residents ran with garden hoses to put out the flames, which were shooting out of the nose of the plane.
Others helped by trying to get to the two people on board. The two men inside were hurt, one seriously hurt, police report. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said, “This is nothing short of a miracle, both that the airplane did not hit any houses and any other individuals. We’re talking about a Sunday evening at 7, clearly people could be out and about.”
Pilot Scott Clifford, 34, of Wallkill, in Upstate New York suffered broken legs and head injuries. He was the one seriously injured out of the two men, both who were admitted to the hospital. Clifford remains in serious condition at Stony Brook University Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Melissa Weir.
Michael Rome, 66, of Greenwood Lake, another town in Upstate New York, was upgraded from fair to good condition Monday, according to Weir. Rome’s injuries weren’t “serious injuries,” according to Commissioner Sini.