WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — A quick flight from Danbury to Plymouth ended in a Watertown hayfield Tuesday for a 54 year-old pilot from Ridgefield, but he walked away alive.
The plane came down on John Moskaluk’s property along Park Road. Moskaluk was having a cup of coffee about 8:30 when he heard the plane coming. “The next thing I know he’s coming and I say he’s going to hit those power lines there,” Moskaluk said, referring to multiple high-voltage power lines that run across his property. “He went over the one line and under the main power line over here.”
Watertown fire chief Larry Black says the pilot and owner of the plane, Daniel Kropas of Ridgefield, actually landed safely in John’s field. He says the crash occurred when Kropas then tried to take off again, and clipped the wing on a tree.
“The plane ended up in the trees,” said Black.
Kropas walked away from the single-engine Cessna 172 just fine, then complained of back trouble, so he was taken to Waterbury Hospital. The best guess for why he tried to land in this field is that just over the next hill is the grass strip of the Waterbury-Plymouth airport.
“He mistaked it for the Waterbury airport and that could be,” said Moskaluk. “From up in the sky, everything looks flat, and with all these meadows he thought he was one hill over, because that’s all it is is one hill over.”
Cindy Foss says she never really notices the planes flying above her as she works the yard, but she noticed the plane flown by Kropas because it crashed dangerously close to the home she employed at.
“Anybody could have been down there,” said Foss.
News 8 reached out to the FAA today about the uncontrolled airport and about the history of Pilot Daniel Kropas, who also owns the plane he crashed, the FAA gave information stating Kropas has never been in any plane accidents before and neither has his plane.
We also asked them if there are any requirements for pilots using uncontrolled airspace to keep a maintenance log of their planes upkeep, they said there is but the records are only searched at random.
Which means some planes are flying into uncontrolled areas, and no one to regularly check if they are doing it safely. Cindy Foss says she will be thinking about that the next time these small planes go by.
The plane leaked fuel, which the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is monitoring.