A 20 year old pilot in the Aviation Science Degree program at Bridgewater State College made a perfect emergency landing on Route 20 West in Marlborough on December 5, 2001.
Kevin Wilder, Matt Regan, Robert Barton and Patrick McGrath were flying at night from Plymouth Airport to Maine under visual flight rules in a rented Piper Cherokee. While at an altitiude of 5,500 feet over Marlborough, the engine of the Piper failed. They attempted to engage the backup systems but the engine still sputtered. Kevin Wilder radioed the Boston Approach air traffic control at Logan International Airport and they told him the nearest airport with night landing capability was Minuteman Airfield in Stow and gave him the radio frequency to turn out the runway lights. When he keyed the frequency, he saw the lights come on, but he was about 8 miles from the airport and was losing altitiude at a rate of 1000 feet a minute. He saw the lights of Route 20 below him and spotted a straight stretch of road and made an emergency landing.
Marlborough Police Officer Jim Zichella (himself a pilot) saw the aircraft coming down over Route 20 and reported a possible aircraft incident.
At Marlborough Fire Headquarters, the entire shift was at the station being fit tested for new SCBA facepieces. Engine 3's personnel were in the middle of the fit test, so Engine 1 covered Engine 3 and was responding to a reported fuel spill from a tractor trailer unit on Route 20 when the call for the aircraft down came in. Engine 1 diverted to the airtcraft incident, Ladder 2 and Rescue 1 were also detailed to that incident. On arrival, we found the aircraft parked on the side of the road. Miraculously, the aircraft was intact, the pasengers were out and there were no vehicles involved. The FAA, the MAC (Massachusetts Aeronautical Commission), the State Police and the owners of Marlborough Airport were contacted. After getting clearance from the FAA and MAC, the aircraft was towed to Marlborough Airport via Route 20 with an escort of police cruisers along with Engine 1. The owners of the aircraft Alpha One Flight arrived at the airport
to check out the aircraft and confer with the staff of Marlborough Airport.
Meanwhile, Engine 3 dispatched and committed to the fuel spill incident. A 100 gallon saddle tank of a Peterbilt tractor was leaking. Clean Harbors was contacted by the trucking company to clean the spill and drain the fuel tank. Engine 3 stood by while the cleanup operation was in progress. Engine 2 covered Headquarters and an Officer and 3 Firefighters were called in to man a reserve engine.
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12-06-2001, 11:21 AM #1
You are cleared to land on runway 20 West..."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
12-08-2001, 08:29 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2000
- Washington state.
Its always nice when somebody can walk away from a plane crash. In this case a nice landing. Ive been to two light pane crash's. the first one was a few years ago and the dude had a broken T-spine. Grossly deformed. I remember while we were extricating him he was worried about us walking on the wings. His back is snapped in half and he's worried about the wings. Ill never forget that one! The second one happened this spring. These two guys were not so lucky. A little massive trauma. (yukky).
[ 12-08-2001: Message edited by: BATT66RED ]
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