A small plane crashed into the front yard of a house on South Main Street in Manville Monday afternoon, not far from Central Jersey Regional Airport just over the border in Hillsborough.
The 2006 Mooney M20M plane was destined for the Hillsborough airfield after taking off from Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina at 10:42 a.m., according to FlightAware.com.
“A single-engine Mooney M20M crashed in a yard north of Central Jersey Regional Airport around 1 p.m. local time today,” said Eva Lee Ngai, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration. “We do not yet know the number of people on board.”
Manville police Lt. John Crater said there were no casualties at the scene, and the pilot was the sole occupant of the plane and taken to a local hospital for treatment. He said the pilot, who he did not identify, got himself out of the plane and was across the street when authorities arrived.
The pilot had a head injury, but it did not appear life threatening, police said.
Preliminarily, Crater said it appears the pilot was landing, had a problem and tried to abort the landing and clipped a tree, which spun the craft and caused it to crash. It sparked a small fire, which firefighters extinguished in a short amount of time, Crater said.
Shortly before 5 p.m., the plane was hoisted onto a flatbed tow vehicle.
Neighbor Sharon Liszczak said the plane landed in the yard of a man who is often in front of his home, working on his car. While he was home at the time, he was not outside when the plane went down.
Another neighbor, Mike Szymanski, who lives next door to where the plane crash landed, was not home at the time, but arrived to find emergency vehicles close to his home. He said he was not surprised to learn it was a downed plane, considering they land at the airfield regularly.
“Somewhere along the line, we’re going to have an accident,” the 96-year-old resident said. “I didn’t hope for it, but I expected it.”
Szymanski, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1956, said he was pleased to learn the pilot survived the crash.
This plane went down a short distance from where a Cessna crashed landed on the top of several trees in September 2019 and stayed lodged for several days before being removed. That pilot was stuck in the plane for four hours before a local tree company helped rescue him.
The plane that crashed Monday is owned by a consulting group in North Carolina, according to public records. Messages left with the company were not immediately returned Monday evening.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate this crash, the FAA said.