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East Haven man killed in plane crash near Tweed-New Haven Airport

NEW HAVEN -- Tweed-New Haven airport officials said the plane that crashed Wednesday morning, killing one person and critically injuring a second, has a connection to the plane involved in a October 2016 crash in East Hartford that also killed a man.

Officials said Pablo Campos, 31, of East Haven, died in the crash.

Police said Campos and another man were on board the single-engine Piper PA-38-112, but officials have not identified the man who was hospitalized. The flight was part of a training operation. FAA records indicate the plane is owned by Connecticut Flight Academy of Hartford, which is the same flight instruction company that owned the plane that crashed on Route 2 in East Hartford in October 2016.

Paul D'Agostino, who lives nearby, witnessed the crash.

"There's times you look up you're like, woah, that's close. But this morning, I just watched it. It was an eerie feeling to watch a plane crash," he said. "It went straight down and that was it. It went right into the muck and that was the end of it."

After it crashed, D'Agostino went into action. "I called 911. I jumped on the machine. I was back there within maybe 3 minutes of it happening."

"It almost sounded like a car crash. And then, you know, you looked outside the window 5 minutes later, I could see all the sirens," said Steve Falcigno, who also lives near crash site.

Others who live in the area were reminded of an August 2013 crash that killed four people.

"I was scared because I wasn't home," said Randall Mena, another neighbor to the crash site. "My baby was here. I was thinking, when another plane crashed on the other side of the airport."

In August 2013, a plane crashed into two homes near Tweed airport, killing four people. The aircraft flipped upside down and crashed into two houses in East Haven during a landing attempt. The crash killed former Microsoft executive Bill Henningsgaard; his 13-year-old son, Maxwell; and two children in one of the homes: 13-year-old Sade Brantley and her 1-year-old sister, Madisyn Mitchell.

Hear 9-1-1 calls from people reporting the crash:

The plane crashed just before 10 a.m. After a short search in a swampy area near Tweed, the plane was located behind Roses Farm Road, police in East Haven said. Chief Douglas Jackson, East Haven Fire Dept. said the plane was located about 1,500 yards into a swampy, tidal marsh. It crashed in two feet of water and was partially buried in the mud, he said. Reeds in the area meant you could be 10 feet from the wreckage and not be able to see it. Crews were guided by witnesses and a plane overhead. They were able to reach the crash using ATVs.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Agency said the crash was classified as accidental. The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.

Emergency personnel from area towns train annually for events like this, according to officials. Chief Jackson said it was helpful to already know participants from other towns at the scene this morning.

East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo said the plane took off, made a Mayday distress call, turned around and fell from the sky.

Dr. Andrew Ulrich, Yale-New Haven Hospital Emergency Medicine Dept. said one patient was being treated in trauma room of emergency department. Doctors said he is in critical condition, undergoing immediate care and resuscitation.

 

Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport is a public airport about three miles southeast of downtown New Haven. It is one of two airports with regularly-scheduled commercial service in Connecticut, the other being Bradley. About 35,000 people use Tweed annually.