SELKIRK – Emergency crews responded to a plane crash at the South Albany Airport on Thursday, May 11.
At approximately 3:42, local fire, police and EMS were called to the airport for the report of a single-engine airplane that crashed and settled approximately 150 yards past the south end of the runway.
The Cessna 172 was piloted by Jacky Lo, 28, of Albany and the passengers were William Yetto, 35, of Waterford and Thomas Kieper, 27, of Niskayuna.
“It landed in a field south of the airport on CSX property. The incident took place on takeoff,” South Albany Airport President and Manager Ted Zabinski said.
A med flight helicopter had just taken off from the airport to answer a call when the crew saw the Cessna in the field.
“The med flight was taking off and saw what happened then landed at the end of the runway,” Selkirk Fire Chief Tom Neri said. “The medics jumped the fence and tended to the occupants of the plane.”
The helicopter canceled its call and remained at the scene.
Fuel was leaking from the aircraft when fire crews arrived, but there was no fire, Neri said.
“We had to cut off both doors of the aircraft and also the steering column to extricate the victims,” he said. “The pilot was pinned by the column.”
According to Neri, the plane looked as if it rolled sideways and then came to rest on its landing gear, rupturing one of the fuel tanks in the wing.
“It looked almost like it barrel rolled,” he said. “There were puddles of fuel when we got there, but no fire.”
Two people were injured, one with back and leg injuries and the others were taken out on backboards as a precaution. All three were transported to Albany Medical Center Hospital, according to radio transmissions during the rescue effort.
“They were pretty shaken up, but it could have been worse,” Neri said.
According to Bethlehem police, the National Transportation Safety Board was notified to investigate the crash. It will likely take several months for a report on the cause of the crash.