On Tuesday May 15 at 12:29 pm the Endicott Fire Department, in Endicott, NY, was dispatched to the Tri-Cities Airport for an aircraft down. Fire Marshal Stephen Hrustich arrived at the airport runway to find the occupant and pilot of a glider aircraft that had an emergency landing into the Susquehanna River, adjacent to the runway.
They were not seriously injured.
Three engine companies, a rescue ambulance and Endicott police officers responded.
Incident Command was assumed by Endicott fire Chief Tom Murphy. Firefighters located the downed aircraft which was several hundred yards south of the runway, and submerged in the river. Boats from the Vestal and Campville Fire Departments responded as well as the Broome County Dive Rescue and Water Recovery Unit.
After determining there were no environmental hazards, a detailed technical discussion took place and a recovery plan was put into operation.
Endicott firefighters cut an access road to the crash site through several hundred yards of thick vegetation and secured a ladder on the steep river embankment to allow access to the aircraft.
Divers went into the water via boat as well as the ladder. They attached two flotation lifting bags to the wings. The plan was to slowly raise the aircraft off the river bottom without causing further damage. After the glider was afloat, it was navigated upriver by the two boat crews from the Vestal Fire Department. The Campville boat crew stayed n close proximity as a safety.
This odd looking flotilla proceeded up the Susquehanna River to a landing site near the Endicott waste water treatment facility. The aircraft was pulled ashore, and turned over to the Glider Association.
Also assisting at the scene were Engine 98 staffed by West Corners Fire Department, the FAA, Glider Association experts and airport management.
Photos are the property of Endicott, NY Fire Department.