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Small plane crashes in Susquehanna River on way to HIA; engine failure likely to blame

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 10/4/19

A small two-seater airplane crash-landed in the Susquehanna River near Middletown late Friday afternoon.The single-engine Piper aircraft was occupied by two people who were both rescued, said Tim …

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Small plane crashes in Susquehanna River on way to HIA; engine failure likely to blame

Posted

A small two-seater airplane crash-landed in the Susquehanna River near Middletown late Friday afternoon.

The single-engine Piper aircraft was occupied by two people who were both rescued, said Tim Edwards, executive director of Harrisburg International Airport.

One of the occupants had a minor injury and the other was not injured, Edwards said. Both occupants were taken by ambulance to the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Edwards said the plane was approaching to land at HIA, when officials believe the aircraft had engine failure, causing it to end up in the river. Crews were dispatched to the scene at about 5:40 p.m.

Edwards said officials believe the aircraft was en route from somewhere in New York state.

According to flightaware.com, the flight was coming from Rochester, a trip of a little more than an hour. The Piper Malibu Mirage seats six and was built in 1984. It is registered with Barjack Aviation in Islamorada, Florida.

The plane landed in the area of the river near Water Street off Route 441 in Londonderry Township, just east of Middletown.

Rescue crews reached the airplane by using the boat launch off South Union Street in Middletown, which was also being used as a staging area for emergency responders.

Jeremy Rosati was on the scene on a boat in the river. He and his wife, Randi, live in Royalton. Jeremy got into his boat to help river rescue personnel in the right direction.

"We travel the water every weekend to Poplar Island, so we know the way around the river," he said. "We heard all the sirens and saw the helicopters flying and live only a block away, so decided to take a drive."

The boat landing was filled with police and firefighters, he said, and the rescue boats were getting stuck because the river is so low.

"They pretty much had to get out of the boat and push," Rosati said.

The plane wasn't really floating, he said. It was touching the bottom of the river because the water is only about 2 1/2 feet deep.

"My family has a cabin on Poplar Island, which is the island right in front of where it landed. As a kid, we always talked about 'what if' a plane crashed, being so close to the airport. And now it actually happened and I got to see it this close," he said.