Hunter finds downed plane with body inside;
COPAKE—A hunter discovered the charred wreckage of a plane crash late the morning of Friday, November 12 in a mountainous, forested area near the Catamount Ski Area on the New York Massachusetts border.
The wreckage of the small single-winged aircraft is broken into pieces, and contains the remains of one person, according to a report on WTEN-TV news.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
The Great Barrington Airport in Massachusetts is the closest airport to the crash scene and no distress calls have been monitored within the past 48 hours, which is when the plane is believed to have gone down. The hunter reportedly told authorities that he had been in the same area two days earlier and noticed nothing out of the ordinary, according to the news report.
The crash scene is in a hard-to-access area, and investigators rode all-terrain-vehicles to get there and then used machetes and chainsaws to clear their way to the wreckage.
Because the plane burned, identification numbers are not visible. No information about the crash victim has been released.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorities are expected to arrive on the scene some time Saturday, November 13.
A two-seat, fixed-wing, single-engine 1943 US Army antique spotter plane, manufactured by Aeronica, was flying at an altitude of 1,800 feet, circling the grass runway at the Green Acres Airstrip off Schneider Road, preparing to land, when it lost power for an unknown reason, and crash landed at the end of the runway, November 12 at 4:45 p.m., according to Livingston State Police Investigator Eric Barnes.
Trooper Brennan Keeler was the first on the scene and found both the pilot, Eric Beebe, 62, of Kinderhook, and the passenger, Steve Gilger, 52, of East Chatham outside the plane. Northern Dutchess Paramedics took Mr. Beebe to the Albany Medical Center for treatment of a head cut, an ankle injury and abdominal pain. Mr. Gilger walked away from the aircraft and refused medical attention. The plane was extensively damaged.
Mr. Beebe is in stable condition and will be fine, said Inv. Barnes, who noted how unusual it is that there would be two different air plane crash investigations going on in Columbia County on the same day.
An investigation is ongoing by Livingston State Police, the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA investigators.
Additional information will be posted on this website as it is received.