DANBURY, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Three people were injured when a small plane crashed after taking off from an airport in southwestern Connecticut late Sunday morning.
The single-engine, four-passenger Cessna 172S crashed into a dog park after departure from runway 26 at Danbury Municipal Airport at 10:25 a.m, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Appears they were departing and wasn’t able to maintain flight and the pilot crashed into the side of the hill,” Deputy Fire Chief Steven Williams said.
Three men were rushed from the wreckage to area hospitals.
The names of the victims have not been released, but Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said they are all from the Greater Danbury area.
Firefighters said two of the men are in critical condition.
Neighbors said such crashes happening quite a bit, CBS2’s Erin Logan reported.
“This is an area where we’ve had more than a few plane crashes, at least in the seven years I’ve been here, probably six or seven,” said Jim Larkin of Danbury.
Fire officials said the pilot rented the plane at the airport and it is owned by Arrow Aviation.
CBS2 is told first responders arrived within minutes rescuing three men from inside the mangled plane.
“When I looked up to my right, that’s when I saw the plane in the brush up there,” said John Zahner.
Just feet away from the crash site, officials had to evacuate a crowded dog park. Regulars glad to hear no one in the park was hurt.
“I take my dog here every Sunday, and I was driving down the road here and was like, what the heck is going on?” said dog owner Amanda Spinosa.
Federal officials spent most of the day on scene investigating.
“It may have been a pilot error or a mechanical problem, but it’s still too early to determine,” Williams said.
The National Transportation Safety Board will work to determine the cause of the crash.
CBS affiliate WFSB-TV, Hartford reported the plane will be kept at the scene until Monday.