FAIRFIELD — Three people aboard a small business jet were uninjured when it ran off the end of the Essex County Airport runway after landing around 2:41 p.m. on Easter Sunday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and police.
The occupants, including the owner who is from Bernardsville and the pilot and second in command, were attempting to get out of the plane when police arrived at the scene, Fairfield police said in a statement.
As the plane was attempting to land, strong cross winds prevented the aircraft from touching down soon enough, according to a preliminary investigation by Fairfield police. The plane briefly hit the runway, then grass, until it landed in a drainage brook.
The white Cessna Citation aircraft was laying in a grassy area on the southern end of the airport Sunday and close to a dozen police, ambulances and fire trucks from Fairfield, West Caldwell, the West Essex First Aid Squad and Essex County Sheriff’s Department were lined up behind the plane with their sirens flashing. A strong smell of fuel wafted through the surrounding area.
At 5:45 p.m. the plane was still emitting jet fuel into the brook. First responders called in Nutley Fire Department’s hazardous materials unit to help Fairfield Fire Department contain the spill.
The FAA said it is investigating the incident. Fairfield police notified the National Transportation Safety Bureau of the crash.