GREENVILLE – The pilot of a small plane – who reported having trouble maintaining altitude – attempted an emergency landing at the Greenville Municipal Airport Monday morning when the aircraft crashed nose first into the ground.
“At approximately 10:45 [a.m.] our department received a call from the federal, the FAA, and said there was a plane in distress possibly heading for Greenville, shortly thereafter we discovered a crash,” said Greenville Police Chief Jeff Pomerleau. “I will confirm we have three deceased.”
The nose of the twin-engined propeller-driven Piper Aerostar was destroyed but a portion of the tail remained vertical after the crash. The plane crashed into a field near a parked vintage DC3 and a group of hangers, located at the end of one of two runways.
“It’s the end of a runway or the beginning depending on your direction, I suppose,” the police chief said.
The FAA says the plane was traveling from Ontario to Prince Edward Island when the pilot notified them about some type of problem maintaining altitude. Apparently, after discussing Boston, they chose Greenville as an emergency landing spot.
Pomerleau says the deceased people have not been positively identified so he was unable to release any names or where they are from.
“We have an evidence reconstruction team here that is just helping out and doing scene photos as well as recovery of the deceased bodies,” said Cpl. Adam Coover of the Maine State Police.
The airport is shut down while the investigation takes place, and will reopen when the FAA gives the OK.
Witnesses say the plane banked sharply before crashing.
The FAA as well as the National Safety Transportation Board are investigating the fatal crash. Greenville police and fire departments, Piscataquis County Sheriffs Office, Maine Warden Service, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Maine State Police are assisting at the scene.