Two men were seriously injured when a small plane crashed in the woods of Westwood on Saturday afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration says the Piper PA-24 crashed near Norwood Memorial Airport at 3:15 p.m. State Police, assisted by police officers from Canton, Norwood and Westwood, and the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the crash at the heavily wooded conservation land behind Peartree Drive. Investigators believe the single-engine, fixed-wing plane was trying to land at Norwood Airport when it suddenly crashed.
Westwood resident Elio Imbornone was sitting by his pool when he saw what happened.
“I see the plane and I turned around quickly and it hit the tree right there,” he said. The plane went down about 100 yards behind his house.
He, like others on his street, are used to seeing planes as Norwood airport is a mile away. They said it appeared the pilot was flying toward the airport.
“It looked kind of wobbly and the propeller wasn’t turning well,” said witness Deb Murphy.
Witness Henry Kara says, “It sounded like the plane had run out of gas the engine was sputtering.”
“It went below the tree line and then bang,” added fellow witness, Paul Nelson.
Imbornone said he called 911, and first responders arrived within minutes.
“They (were) coming in (with) pipes, hoses, everything,” he said. “They are afraid if plane blows up and catches on fire we would be in trouble.”
Rescuers, though, did have a hard time getting to the pilot and his passenger.
“They had to go through a couple hundred yards of dense brush that’s not meant for a walking path it’s designed to be a buffer for sound,” said Westwood Police chief Jeffrey Silva.
A tree was on top of the plane. Crews had to cut through the trees and brush to get to the wreck, and then they used the jaws-of-life to get to the men.
“We were able to talk to the pilot briefly at scene,” Silva said.
Imbornone credits the pilot with missing the neighborhood, ensuring more people were not hurt.
“We are just praying everyone is well,” he said.
The pilot, a 65-year-old Newton man, was flown by medical helicopter to Boston Medical Center.
The passenger, a 77-year-old Norwood man, was rushed to Norwood Hospital. He was then flown by medical helicopter to Boston Medical Center.
The cause of this crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and State Police.