Pilot Walks Away Unhurt from Machias Crash

The pilot of a single-engine Piper airplane reportedly walked away uninjured Tuesday afternoon after he drove the plane beyond the end of the runway here and crashed it into some trees.

Maine State Police and the Machias police were notified at about 5 p.m. after an emergency beacon on the plane reportedly alerted officials that the plane was down at the Machias Valley Airport. The Machias Fire Department along with the Civil Air Patrol also responded.

According to Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, the unnamed pilot took off from the airport Tuesday afternoon, but returned almost immediately and landed on Runway 36.

"Because the aircraft is totally damaged it will be classified as an aviation accident investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board," Peters said.

He had no information concerning the cause of the accident.

The plane reportedly failed to stop at the north end of the runway and traveled another 150 feet beyond the red and blue runway lights, through tall grass and a patch of purple and pink lupines, before crashing into several trees at the bottom of a small hill.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the plane was still resting in the trees, its left wing twisted and hanging from the side of the plane. The front of the plane was smashed in and the door to the cockpit was open. There was an orange box sitting in a nearby tree and another orange box sitting on top of the plane.

Police had strung crime scene tape across the runway.

"This is their [FAA] scene ultimately, we're just securing it for them," said Sgt. Jeff Ingemi of the Maine State Police. All questions were referred to the FAA.

Around 6:25 p.m. the pilot was brought back to the airport by an officer with the Maine Forest Service. He was placed in a cruiser and questioned.

"The pilot was uninjured. He got out of the aircraft after it came to a full stop in the woods and got into his car and left the airport," Peters said. "But we did locate him and we did talk to him. We won't tell you what he said or why he left the airport - that's part of the investigation," Peters said.

The FAA spokesman said his agency did not release the name of pilots, but according to the FAA Web site, the 1958 Piper PA-24-250 fixed wing single-engine airplane is registered to Stephen D. Jones of Kingsington, N.H.

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