HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The pilot of a small plane was hurt after crashing Wednesday morning near a regional airport in Somerset County.
The plane came down around 10:20 a.m. in a yard off Sunnymeade Road in Hillsborough Township. The plane had just taken off from Central Jersey Regional Airport in Manville, Hillsborough police said.
Exactly what caused the crash is unknown. Video from the scene shows the plane upside down with debris scattered around the wreckage, but the fuselage mostly intact. Part of the plane could be seen hanging in a tree, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
The pilot, 73-year-old Victor Holmlund of Hillsborough, was injured in the crash and taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital for treatment, police said.
The plane was a single-engine amateur-built Auriga aircraft, the FAA said. Friends said Holmlund built the blue and white plane himself over the course of 25 years.
“That’s why it’s called amateur-built, because it’s not built by a factory. But it doesn’t mean they’re any less safe. Anything can have an accident – mechanical failure or pilot error,” said pilot Doug Libby.
Fellow pilots told Sloan they’re convinced Holmlund intentionally landed his plane in the open backyard, inches away from train tracks.
Holmlund barely missed Muhammad Hashmi’s home.
“It was really scary. I heard a huge crash; I was sleeping and I heard a huge crash and woke up,” he said.
Pilots said they follow FAA regulations while flying over the area, but some residents said they’ve been worried for years.
“I knew it was going to happen one day because these planes fly real low, and we have a lot of woods back there,” Hashmi said.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating to determine exactly what caused the crash.
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