New York State Police say they are investigating a small plane crash that happened in a field off Braley Road in the Town of Porter.

Author: Tommy Gallagher (WGRZ), Nate Benson (WGRZ)

NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. — One person died in a small plane crash Sunday in the Town of Porter.

A spokesperson for New York State Police confirmed the death during a 5:30 p.m. news conference at the scene in Niagara County. The victim was from the area, state police said, adding that it was a small, single-prop plane.

“We believe the plane was heading northbound, struck some trees and power lines on Braley, and crashed just north into the field off Braley Road,” said state trooper James O’Callaghan, the Troop A public information officer.

There was a just a single occupant, the pilot, aboard the plane, which crashed in a cornfield near Shear Airport.

“We know the operator of the plane was going to head home,” O’Callaghan said.

State Police have identified the operator of the plane as Christopher M. Caruana, 35 of Grand Island, NY.  He was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

A neighbor told 2 On Your Side that they recognized the plane and that it flew in the area often. 

State police are working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on the investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board has not arrived just yet.

The initial call for the crash came at 3:08 p.m. Sunday. Braley Road in the Town of Porter is closed between Porter Center Road and Youngstown-Wilson Road, and state police confirmed that it will stay closed for at least a couple days.

This is the third single-engine small plane crash in Western New York in a month. On May 15 an experimental plane crashed at the Akron airport, severely injuring the pilot. On June 6, two Canadian men died in a crash near the Jamestown airport. 

O’Callaghan says the state police often sees an uptick in small plane crashes as the spring transitions into summer. 

“It’s just like our collisions with automobiles, we see more from Memorial Day to Labor Day, nicer weather,” O’Callaghan said. “If you do have a car or a plane, make sure you’re doing the mechanical work to make sure whatever you’re using as a mode of transportation is safe and reliable.”