Shawne Wickham, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester

May 12—The pilot of an ultralight plane escaped serious injury when he crashed on the banks of the Pemigewasset River Thursday morning.

Plymouth Police Chief Alex Hutchins said the man had taken off from Plymouth Municipal Airport and was flying up the river when he realized that a set of power lines was crossing the water ahead.

“He noticed that and went to duck under them and he ended up crashing into some trees along the riverbank,” the chief said.

First responders were notified shortly before 9 a.m. of a plane crash near the town’s water and sewage treatment plant.

The pilot ended up with minor scrapes and bruises, Hutchins said. He was “very lucky,” he said.

Plymouth Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Pierce said when first responders arrived at the crash scene, the pilot had gotten himself out of the plane, which was perched precariously. “Half the aircraft was hanging over the embankment over the river, and the other half was tangled in a tree, which was keeping it from falling.”

“One branch was holding it in place,” Pierce said.

Rescue personnel had to rappel down to aircraft to secure it in place, he said.

Pierce said the sole occupant of the plane, a Litchfield man in his 50s, was an experienced pilot. “He’s flown this area many, many times,” he said.

The plane, a 2022 Airwolf 912, was brand new, Pierce said.

The pilot was “very fortunate,” the fire chief said.

“When he crashed, all it would have taken is one stick to go right through his chest,” he said. “He hit that bank going at least 25 miles an hour.”

Pierce said the Federal Aviation Administration was notified and will look into the cause of the incident.