EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The plane that fell from the sky near Tweed Airport Wednesday morning is headed to Delaware as the search for answers begins.
Thursday night, investigators cleared the scene as a salvage company drove away with the airplane in the back of a trailer. It was a long day as the salvage crew surgically cut the plane up into sections. First, the wings, then the tail.
Robert Gretz, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, says crews had to literally dig the plane out of the ground.
“Because it is like a marshy swamp, the engine was actually buried about two or three-feet and there was mud on top with suction and that took them a long time to get the engine out and the propeller was still attached,” said Gretz.
Gretz, knee-deep in the mud, completed the first phase of the investigation. They looked for obvious signs and problems as they remove the aircraft.
“There were no catastrophic issues, both wings were there. The tail was there and we were able to account for the whole airplane,” said Gretz.
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Tom Matthews of East Haven remembers back almost 50 years to when a plane hit his grandfather’s house.
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“Seeing the plane, the fire trucks, the foam. Foam all over the place around my bicycle,” said Matthews.
Matthews says he can relate to the families of the victims in the plane crash. It was in June 29, 1965 that a plane taking off from Tweed clipped the light pole and spun into his grandfather and great-grandfather’s home. His dad just pulled the car out of the garage when the propeller chewed into the empty bay. Four people went to the hospital, including his father who suffered electrical burns.
“The nose went into the garage, the tail spun around and hit my great-grandfather’s second window, and took that out. My mother told me there was a baby there sleeping,” said Matthews.