Meriden Mayor: The plane crash "could have been much worse"


Meriden – Two people are expected to survive the crash of a small plane in the baseball field of a city high school on Thursday.

According to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration, a Piper PA-28 aircraft crashed on the H.C. Wilcox Technical High School Baseball Field at 18:55 The school is on Oregon Road.

Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati said Thursday night that the plane had struck a high voltage cable before the accident.

"I understand that the two occupants of the plane are under medical care and have no life-threatening injuries … It could have been much worse," he said. "It's a terrible thing and obviously very alarming and disturbing when a majority of your city is without electricity."

Scarpati said that athletes were on the baseball field in the afternoon, a few hours before the accident. He added that a tennis match, which was to take place on the school's tennis court located on the far side of the baseball field, was moved to another venue around 10 am.

"No student was on the scene when that happened, no student was in the field," he said.

FAA officials said the agency would conduct an investigation and that the National Transportation Safety Board would determine the probable cause of the accident.

Sgt. Christopher Fry said at a press conference last Thursday that the 50-year-old pilot appeared to be practicing landings and taking off when he hit a high-voltage wire and crashed into the field Outside of a baseball field at Wilcox Technical High School.

The plane cut the wire that landed on another wire, causing a short circuit that cut off power in much of the city, Fry said. About a dozen Eversource employees arrived quickly, said Fry. The current was back this morning.

A passenger in the plane was in his mid-thirties, said Fry.

Connecticut State Police said in a statement Friday that the passenger was taken to Hartford Hospital via Lifestar and that the pilot was taken by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury. State police said their injuries would not apparently put their lives in danger, despite the seriousness of the incident.

The Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection was alerted and asked to react because the collision caused a minor fuel leak, state police said. The FAA arrived at the scene Friday to investigate.

The Meriden Markham Municipal Airport is located nearby.

According to reports from Eversource Energy, which provides electricity to 28,192 customers in Meriden, over 40% of these customers, or 13,366 customers, were without electricity at 7:20 pm. Friday at 5 am, Eversource did not report any power failure.

Scarpati congratulated the first responders who managed the accident and the Eversource teams who worked quickly to restore power to the residents.

"It's not something they can do with their normal trucks and crews," he said. "They had to use different equipment."

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