No injuries in private plane crash on State Beach, Oak Bluffs

No injuries in private plane crash on State Beach, Oak Bluffs

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The Piper single-engine plane was pulled up on the shore from the water soon after the crash.

Jean Dupon of Edgartown was at the controls of his fixed-wing, Piper single-engine airplane, on the way to Martha’s Vineyard Airport from Hyannis Saturday evening, with his passenger Susan King, when the plane’s engine stopped over Nantucket Sound.

Mr. Dupon, an experienced pilot, set his stricken plane down on moonlit Joseph Sylvia State Beach in Oak Bluffs. The plane crashed at about 8:45 pm.

Alerted by a witness to the crash, State Police, Oak Bluffs Police, and the Oak Bluffs Fire Department responded to the accident. Mr. Dupon and Ms. King were treated at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for minor injuries and released, according to Massachusetts State Police.

On Sunday, investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived to examine the Piper PA-32-300 and to interview Mr. Dupon, owner of Le Grenier, a well-known French restaurant located on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.

On Tuesday, Chris Magee, owner of Bay State Towing in Edgartown, and his crew began dismantling the plane in preparation for its removal from the beach. The first step was to remove the wings so that the fuselage could be rolled over the sand on dollies. The challenge, Mr. Magee said, was to stay off the dunes.

On Wednesday morning Mr. Magee and his crew hooked a cable to the plane’s fuselage and carefully pulled the plane body along a beach path to the road where it was loaded on to a flat bed truck for transport to its hanger.

Very quickly

“It happened very quickly. My engine quit as I was about to land,” Mr. Dupon, 67, told The Times in a telephone call Sunday. “And I could not make it to the runway, so I decided that instead of crashing into the forest or some houses, to go and crash on the beach, or as close to the beach as possible, which is what happened. And it worked out.”

Mr. Dupon said the response of the emergency responders, including the Oak Bluffs fire department, EMS, and police, “was incredible.” Mr. Dupon said that although he and his passenger were not injured, they were shaken up.

“They really helped to calm me down,” he said.

Mr. Dupon said he has been a private pilot for about 29 years. Asked if he had ever experienced anything similar, Mr. Dupon said, “Never. I had some close calls but never anything like that.”

Sean Flynn, Martha’s Vineyard Airport manager, told The Times in a telephone interview that the airplane was approximately six miles from Martha’s Vineyard Airport and operating under visual flight rules conditions in the clear evening.

“The engine had stopped and he picked the beach to land on,” Mr. Flynn said.

State Beach separates Nantucket Sound from Sengekontacket Pond. Mr. Dupon attempted to set his plane down on a narrow ribbon of sand between Big and Little bridges on the east side of Beach Road, the state highway that connects Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.

Mr. Dupon brought his plane down parallel to the road and in the direction of Edgartown. The landing gear struck one of the wooden groins set in the sand along the beach to limit erosion.

“It appears that he struck one of the groins and that is what it appears removed the main landing gear,” Mr. Flynn said.

The impact likely caused the plane to turn 180 degrees and come to rest in the water just off the beach, Mr. Flynn said. The plane was later pulled back up out of the water and onto the beach.

Mr. Flynn said the airport tower closes at 5 pm in the off-season. There was no emergency radio call, he said. A witness reported the accident, and airport officials responded.

Mr. Flynn, a commercial rated pilot, said the brightly moonlit night and Mr. Dupon’s skill in landing the plane on the beach were factors in the safe outcome. “As pilots, we are taught that beaches are good places to land if you have to do an off-site landing,” he said. “And it all happens really quickly. You are in a glide in something that is not meant to be a glider and you are doing your best, and there are many things you are trying to get done.”

Mr. Flynn said the airplane had recently undergone mechanical work. He said the FAA would conduct the investigation, along with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the state Division of Aeronautics.

Mr. Flynn said it is still too early to suggest a cause. He said that will be up to the FAA and NTSB to determine. The investigation is intended to determine the cause of this crash and uncover any latent flaws that may exist in the plane or its mechanical and electrical systems.

On Sunday morning, a steady stream of curious Islanders filed by to see the unusual site. The aircraft sat on the beach facing the water, about half-way between Big Bridge and Little Bridge in Oak Bluffs.

The plane was intact, but the landing gear lay crumpled near the tail section. There was damage to the right wing, propeller, the fuselage, and the horizontal stabilizer section of the tail.

“We want to get it off the beach as soon as possible,” Mr. Flynn said. “It’s getting a lot of attention.”

“Thank you to the EMS, fire department, police department, ambulance, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and everyone that came to help me Saturday night, after crashing my plane,” Mr. Dupon wrote in a letter to the editor published in this week’s issue of The Times. “One never realizes what a great community Martha’s Vineyard truly is.”

Jean Dupon of Edgartown was at the controls of his fixed-wing, Piper single-engine airplane, on the way to Martha’s Vineyard Airport from Hyannis Saturday evening, with his passenger Susan King, when the plane’s engine stopped over Nantucket Sound.

Mr. Dupon, an experienced pilot, set his stricken plane down on moonlit Joseph Sylvia State Beach in Oak Bluffs. The plane crashed at about 8:45 pm.

Alerted by a witness to the crash, State Police, Oak Bluffs Police, and the Oak Bluffs Fire Department responded to the accident. Mr. Dupon and Ms. King were treated at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for minor injuries and released, according to Massachusetts State Police.

On Sunday, investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived to examine the Piper PA-32-300 and to interview Mr. Dupon, owner of Le Grenier, a well-known French restaurant located on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.

On Tuesday, Chris Magee, owner of Bay State Towing in Edgartown, and his crew began dismantling the plane in preparation for its removal from the beach. The first step was to remove the wings so that the fuselage could be rolled over the sand on dollies. The challenge, Mr. Magee said, was to stay off the dunes.

On Wednesday morning Mr. Magee and his crew hooked a cable to the plane’s fuselage and carefully pulled the plane body along a beach path to the road where it was loaded on to a flat bed truck for transport to its hanger.

Very quickly

“It happened very quickly. My engine quit as I was about to land,” Mr. Dupon, 67, told The Times in a telephone call Sunday. “And I could not make it to the runway, so I decided that instead of crashing into the forest or some houses, to go and crash on the beach, or as close to the beach as possible, which is what happened. And it worked out.”

Mr. Dupon said the response of the emergency responders, including the Oak Bluffs fire department, EMS, and police, “was incredible.” Mr. Dupon said that although he and his passenger were not injured, they were shaken up.

“They really helped to calm me down,” he said.

Mr. Dupon said he has been a private pilot for about 29 years. Asked if he had ever experienced anything similar, Mr. Dupon said, “Never. I had some close calls but never anything like that.”

Sean Flynn, Martha’s Vineyard Airport manager, told The Times in a telephone interview that the airplane was approximately six miles from Martha’s Vineyard Airport and operating under visual flight rules conditions in the clear evening.

“The engine had stopped and he picked the beach to land on,” Mr. Flynn said.

State Beach separates Nantucket Sound from Sengekontacket Pond. Mr. Dupon attempted to set his plane down on a narrow ribbon of sand between Big and Little bridges on the east side of Beach Road, the state highway that connects Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.

Mr. Dupon brought his plane down parallel to the road and in the direction of Edgartown. The landing gear struck one of the wooden groins set in the sand along the beach to limit erosion.

“It appears that he struck one of the groins and that is what it appears removed the main landing gear,” Mr. Flynn said.

The impact likely caused the plane to turn 180 degrees and come to rest in the water just off the beach, Mr. Flynn said. The plane was later pulled back up out of the water and onto the beach.

Mr. Flynn said the airport tower closes at 5 pm in the off-season. There was no emergency radio call, he said. A witness reported the accident, and airport officials responded.

Mr. Flynn, a commercial rated pilot, said the brightly moonlit night and Mr. Dupon’s skill in landing the plane on the beach were factors in the safe outcome. “As pilots, we are taught that beaches are good places to land if you have to do an off-site landing,” he said. “And it all happens really quickly. You are in a glide in something that is not meant to be a glider and you are doing your best, and there are many things you are trying to get done.”

Mr. Flynn said the airplane had recently undergone mechanical work. He said the FAA would conduct the investigation, along with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the state Division of Aeronautics.

Mr. Flynn said it is still too early to suggest a cause. He said that will be up to the FAA and NTSB to determine. The investigation is intended to determine the cause of this crash and uncover any latent flaws that may exist in the plane or its mechanical and electrical systems.

On Sunday morning, a steady stream of curious Islanders filed by to see the unusual site. The aircraft sat on the beach facing the water, about half-way between Big Bridge and Little Bridge in Oak Bluffs.

The plane was intact, but the landing gear lay crumpled near the tail section. There was damage to the right wing, propeller, the fuselage, and the horizontal stabilizer section of the tail.

“We want to get it off the beach as soon as possible,” Mr. Flynn said. “It’s getting a lot of attention.”

“Thank you to the EMS, fire department, police department, ambulance, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and everyone that came to help me Saturday night, after crashing my plane,” Mr. Dupon wrote in a letter to the editor published in this week’s issue of The Times. “One never realizes what a great community Martha’s Vineyard truly is.”