LINDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A flight instructor has died and a student is in critical condition after their plane crashed near Linden Airport on Friday afternoon.
Shortly after takeoff, the pilot of the single-engine plane issued a mayday, saying it couldn’t climb. The plane then crashed on train tracks near a former General Motors plant parallel to Routes 1 and 9 west of the airport.
“There was a perfectly normal departure. They called to depart on the radio,” Airport Director Paul Dudley told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
Authorities said the plane was on a training exercise with a 58-year-old pilot and an adult student on board the dual-controlled, two-seater known as a “Diamond.”
The pilot was later identified as Craig MacCallum, 58, from Montclair.
One witnesses called 911 to report the takeoff looked to be in trouble, Dennis reported.
“As far as he heard, the airplane engine didn’t sound right,” said Linden Police Capt. James Sarnicki. “The airplane had difficulty gaining altitude.”