FAA investigating cause of Meriden plane crash, power restored to city

FAA investigating cause of Meriden plane crash, power restored to city

MERIDEN — Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and state police were on scene Friday at the site of a small plane crash on the grounds of Wilcox Technical High School. 

The crash knocked out power to much of the city. Eversource crews worked through the night to restore power and listed no affected customers as of Friday morning.

Meriden police spokesman Sgt. Christopher Fry said the department received a call reporting the crash shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday. Initially two people were trapped inside the small plane, which was tangled in live electrical wires. 

Fry said the two male passengers — one in his 30s and the other in his 50s — sustained non-life-threatening injuries. One was able to get out of the plane on his own. Medical personnel were able to remove the other. 

Both were taken to MidState Medical Center. One was later transported to Hartford Hospital via LifeStar helicopter, Fry said. Police on Friday said their injuries were considered minor.

No one was on the athletic field at the time of the crash. 

“This is about the best-case circumstance you could possibly get in any type of plane crash,” Fry said. 

Wilcox will be closed today, Fry said.

The Federal Aviation Administration was expected to arrive on scene today to investigate, Fry said. He also said it was unclear Thursday night how the crash would affect classes at Wilcox. 

Fry said the occupants told first responders they were practicing a “touch-and-go” maneuver, or touching down and immediately taking off again, when the plane lost power. He said that was “very preliminary, don’t have any evidence to support that.”

It would “make sense” that the pilot would have been using nearby Meriden Markham Municipal Airport.

Eversource reported that as many as 13,366 customers were without power. Area fire departments, including Cheshire and Southington, provided assistance.

City Manager Tim Coon, who also responded to the scene, said Eversource officials told him they expected all power to be restored in short order, but that some areas could experience ongoing issues.

“They anticipate full power restoration in 12 hours,” Coon said.

Firefighters were tied up at several emergencies caused by the power outages in addition to the plane crash.

While no one was on the field at the time of the crash, Fry said first responders did have to direct people who were at the school and in the surrounding neighborhood. In particular, he said they had to direct people away from the wires.

“I don’t think they understood what type of danger they were in at the time,” he said.

Tucker Sperry, who lives on nearby Glen Place, said he was in his backyard when he heard the sound of the plane coming down.

“I was at my house and heard the crash. It sounded like thunder,” he said.

He walked toward Wilcox and could smell fuel. He said the plane came to rest on the baseball field and both wings appeared to be snapped.

Kieara Parker, a senior at Platt High School, also was able to view the plane before being moved back.

“Thank God this didn’t happen while we were in school,” she said.

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