A single-engine plane crashed and burned on the lawn of a historic Pequannock home yesterday, but the pilot and his 13-year-old son walked away uninjured, police and federal aviation officials said.
Gerard Roeting, 46, and his 13-year-old son, both from Lincoln Park, had just taken off from nearby Lincoln Park Airport and were bound for Keene, N.H. when the airplane suddenly lost power, police said.
The plane, a 1949 Stinson, crashed about 2:30 p.m. near the intersection of Farm and Sunset roads.
Pequannock police Chief Brian Spring said after the plane lost power, it clipped a power line, severed a telephone pole and struck several tree branches. That stopped the craft's forward momentum.
"The plane just plopped right down on the ground. They got out right as the plane started to burn. They were lucky," the chief said.
Flames quickly consumed the plane, leaving a charred aircraft skeleton within 50 feet of the Jess Van Ness House, built in 1890 by the well-known Van Ness family of Dutch farmers who first settled in the area in 1713, according to historic preservation officials.
John and Lynne Smith have lived in the home for 24 years and were home at the time of the crash. John Smith ran outside, grabbed a garden hose and began spraying down the burning fuselage. He also wet down the walls of the barn to keep it from going up in flames, said Lt. Dan Dooley.
When the plane slammed into the yard, Lynne Smith, 68, said, "I thought a truck was outside and whatever they were carrying fell off.
"It was very scary," she said. "How lucky were we, and how lucky were those people in that plane."
Roeting and his son suffered a few bruises, and were taken to Saint Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, police said. Hospital staff declined to release their conditions.
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