HALIFAX — A man is lucky to be alive after his plane crashed in the water behind Lake Street in Halifax Saturday afternoon around noon.
A portion of the Piper Archer 28-181, single propeller could be seen partially submerged near 78 Lake St., Halifax where first responders spent hours securing the oil spill from the plane with containment booms and awaited removal of the craft.
John Keegan of Hanson was helping his brother- in- law Aaron Sellers with a repair on the roof of his home when he saw the small plane skim the roof of the neighbors’ roof next door.
“His wings hit the ice then he popped back up and then crashed over there,” said Keegan pointing to the icy water.
Keegan, along with another man who heard the call from nearby Cranland Airport in Hanson, were able to flip a canoe over that was at the bottom of the Sellers’ property, paddled through the ice to reach the pilot, and helped him to shore. The man was reportedly soaked but talking and said he was not hurt according to Keegan. He was standing on the plane’s roof when the pair reached him.
In a press release Halifax firefighters reported they began the process of launching their marine craft in an attempt to reach the plane and encountered thin layers of ice and cold weather which prohibited the rescue boat from initially reaching the airplane. A mutual aid airboat from Middleborough was called to assist in reaching the aircraft. Companies then began the process of securing the surroundings with inflatable booms to stop any fuel leaks.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Environmental Protection, National Transportation Safety Board, Sheriff’s department, and State police were called to assist in the aircraft recovery, according to the press release.
The pilot later returned to the scene. He was seen walking with a police officer in dry clothing and shook hands with Sellers as he passed by his home where Keegan had assisted him earlier. The man declined to comment to this reporter.
Other hazardous materials units were called in from Kingston and Duxbury. Andy’s Towing and other tow companies were called to standby the incident. The Plymouth County Dive Team was also activated with members from Hanover, Hingham, Abington, and Plympton. Hanson Fire provided coverage at Halifax fire station
The name of the pilot has not been released by authorities and the cause of the crash is currently under investigation, according to the Halifax Fire Dept.