News Plane Crashes — 11 April 2017

A small plane made an emergency landing on I-295 in Bowdoinham about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, colliding with the guardrail just outside the breakdown lane, according to Maine State Police.

Pilot John Gayley and passenger Rodney Voisene suffered minor injuries.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Gayley was taken to Maine Medical Center with injuries to his face, and Voisene was taken to a local hospital with an injury to his arm.

Gayley’s condition was not immediately available midday.

At the scene of the crash, Maine State Police Trooper Tyler Harrington said Tuesday morning the plane was headed to Turner when the Cessna 140 fixed wing, single engine plane experienced engine failure.

Gayley, who has two planes and keeps them at Twitchell’s Airport and Seaplane Base in Turner, had taken off from Twitchell’s this morning, airport employee Jenn Casey said.

“He left here around 9:15 this morning with his brother-in-law,” Casey said. “John lives in Bowdoin, so he probably flew around there.”

McCausland had said Gayley had taken off from a Bowdoinham airfield.

One driver had to swerve to miss the plane, McCausland said in a news release.

An aviation database shows that the plane, which was manufactured in 1947, is registered to Gayley, who lives in Bowdoin.

Drivers of two pickup trucks heading south watched the plane fly toward them just over the trees in the median.

“He was just above the trees,” Daniel Henderson, of Winthrop, said, when Henderson was just south of the Richmond exit. “There were five or six cars and, in a matter of seconds, everybody started moving over and made room for him.”

Lee Gosselin Jr. said he and Kevin Whitten were headed to a job in Harpswell when the emergency landing unfolded in front of him.

“The traffic was coming at him,” Gosselin, who lives in Manchester, said, “When he got slowed down, he turned into the guardrail.”

“He touched down right as he was beside me, and clipped the guardrail right behind my truck,” Henderson said.

Gosselin and Henderson said they helped the pilot from the plane.

“Fuel was leaking everywhere,” Gosselin said. His first instinct was to get away from the plane and the fuel he said was spraying everywhere.

“The pilot told the passenger to turn the fuel off,” Gosselin said. The passenger was able to shut off the fuel and the plane.

Gosselin said Whitten went to direct traffic around the crash site until the state police arrived; traffic was pretty heavy at the time.

“John told us when he took off he was going to switch over to his second fuel tank but the engine didn’t pick it up,” Gosselin said. “He said he told the passenger, the highway or the trees, and the passenger said the highway.”

Gosselin said Gayley appeared to have a broken nose, and Voisene had a cut on his head.

Henderson said he stayed until police and firefighters arrived, and then rushed off to make his own flight at Portland International Jetport.

McCausland said a wrecker is expected to remove the plane Tuesday afternoon, and southbound traffic will be disrupted.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

Four years ago, a Cessna landed on I-95 not far from the site of Tuesday’s crash.

Game warden Dan Dufault piloted the aircraft and was accompanied by passenger Charlie Todd, a biologist with the state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. The single-propeller plane had taken off about 35 minutes earlier from Belfast Municipal Airport. Its destination was the Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport.

Todd had said he and Dufault had been planning to conduct a survey of eagle’s nests when the plane’s troubles disrupted the flight.

The FAA investigation found the plane’s engine had stalled, starved of fuel because of pilot error.

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