Small Plane Crashes in NJ; Pilot in Critical Condition

Thursday, Feb 10, 2011  |  Updated 5:50 PM EDT
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Small Plane Crashes in NJ; Pilot in Critical Condition

NBCNewYork

At least one person was injured when a small plane crashed near an airport in Morris County, N.J.

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A small plane crashed while trying to land in New Jersey's Morris County late Thursday morning, leaving its pilot hospitalized in critical condition.

The plane,  a single-engine Cessna, crashed down in the parking lot of a garden store near the Lincoln Park Airport .

The pilot, 61-year-old Leslie Gwyn-Williams of nearby Verona, is also the plane's owner, according to Pequannock Police Lt. Dan Dooley. 

According to Dooley, Gwyn-Williams had taken off from Morristown Memorial Airport and was scheduled to pick someone up at Lincoln Park Airport when he lost engine power on his approach and clipped a few trees before crashing at about 11:30 a.m.

Adam Schuetz, a construction worker working nearby, heard the crash and ran to the scene.

"It happened so fast. It didn't even sound like an airplane," Schuetz said "There was a thud where you thought, 'Was that an airplane?' I got to the road and looked down and saw it was a plane, and I immediately called 911. I was surprised he was alive because the scene was so gruesome — he was bleeding profusely out of his head, and had cuts and bruises."

Gwyn-Williams suffered multiple leg fractures, facial injuries and internal injuries and was conscious when rescuers arrived. He was taken by helicopter to Morristown Memorial Hospital, Dooley said. A hospital spokesman said Gwyn-Williams' condition was critical.

Lincoln Park Airport is about 20 miles northwest of New York City.

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