Witness recalls plane crash that killed student, injured pilot

A plane crashed just inches away from this minivan just outside the Pratt & Whitney plant in East Hartford Tuesday (WTNH / Report-It / Frank Crandall)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Right now, the FAA is working to figure out what went wrong that caused a small airplane on final approach to Brainard Airport to veer off course and crash on Main Street in East Hartford.

Frank Crandall took this picture seconds after the plane just missed his car.

WTNH Report It/ Frank Crandall
WTNH Report It/ Frank Crandall

“I slammed on the brakes. He hit a pole right behind me then he came in and landed and I thought it was actually part of the plane falling off, but the pilot actually jumped out of the plane,” said Crandall.

Related Content: 1 dead after plane crashes in East Hartford in front of Pratt & Whitney

The passenger didn’t make it out of the plane alive. From the air you can see just how large the debris field is, stretching blocks along Main Street. Witnesses say it was a miracle more people weren’t injured or killed. The plane landed behind Crandall and in front of a mother in a minivan with her three children. An unidentified witness saw them get out unhurt.

“She was fine, but nervous, shaken up, she was in shock, she couldn’t even talk.”

Power was out for blocks, roads closed and Goodwin College canceled classes as investigators began looking into the report that it was a pilot and student who were in the plane. Crandall is in the Civil Air Patrol and his heart goes out to the family members of the passenger in the plane.

“God bless the person that was still inside. It’s a sad thing, but there was a passenger who didn’t make it. He [the pilot] was sitting next to the bank and he had a burnt arm,” said Crandall.

Main Street will remain shut down for at least 24 hours as investigators work the charred remains in the debris field. The East Hartford School District posted on its website that due to the accident and the closure on Main Street, the buses may be delayed.

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