Sunday, October 12, 2014

Colombia LC41-550FG, N2507S, Avemax LLC: Incident occurred October 12, 2014 near Reigle Field Airport (58N), Palmyra, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania

CAMPBELLTOWN >> A Maryland couple escaped serious injury after the plane they were flying crashed on the edge of a corn field along Route 117 (South Forge Road) in South Londonderry Township late Sunday afternoon.

Campbelltown Fire Co. Safety Officer Mark Houser Jr. said they were dispatched to the crash scene along Route 117, in the area of the turnabout, around 4:45 p.m. Both people in the plane had gotten out, he said.

"We have a member that was in the military and he went over and depowered the plane, turned the fuel off, turned the batteries off, completely depowered it down," Houser said.

The pilot, Dennis Berman of Maryland, said he and his wife had planned to visit Hershey when they flew into Reigle airport.

Berman said the runway at the small airport is a bit shorter than he is used to.

"I made a mistake. I landed too fast," he said. "This is what's called a short runway. The runway I'm normally on is 4,000 feet. This is a little less than 2,000 (feet). Once I was three-quarters down the runway, I realized the braking I was doing was not going to stop the plane before the road," he said.

While on the runway, he said he saw a car coming along the highway and tried to make a right turn into a grassy field just south of the runway, "but when it hit the berm, a front wheel broke, at which point I had not control to steer it. It skidded across the road" to the edge of the field, he said.

Berman said he and his wife were unhurt. He estimated the plane was only going about 15 mph when it skidded across the roadway.

The plane blocked the roadway for about 45 minutes, until firefighters and police were able to move it back onto the airport property.

South Londonderry Township police Sgt. Gerald Cassel said the pilot was unable to stop the airplane at the end of the runway, ended up going across the roadway to the edge of the field. Cassel said Berman and his wife refused medical treatment at the scene. Cassel said agents from the Federal Aviation Administration would be investigating the crash.

In addition to Campbelltown, Lawn Fire Co. and ambulances from Lawn and Life Lion EMS assisted at the scene.

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