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SUMMERSTOWN – A pilot has been recovered alive after his plane crashed in the woods, southwest of the Cornwall Regional Airport.
SD&G O.P.P. Sgt. Greg Smith told Cornwall Newswatch the plane, based in Summerstown, was reported overdue around 6 p.m. Monday.
That prompted a massive search involving various law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border. The Joint Rescue Coordinator Center at 8 Wing CFB Trenton, three marine units from the RCMP, O.P.P. and the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service as well as a helicopter from the New York State Police were combing the area.
Two marine units from the Hogansburg-Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department also participated in the search, according to Akwesasne EMT-Firefighter Derek Comins.
Two members with the RCMP Cornwall Regional Task Force were driving along County Road 27 when they spotted the white and blue C-plane, Smith said.
“Officers observed a flashing beacon in the bush at 10 p.m. and they went into the bush and located the plane with the pilot in the plane. The pilot is alive,” Smith told CNW.
Smith said the 70-year-old man, who was the lone occupant of the C-plane “Buccaneer” and described as a local resident, was taken to the Cornwall Community Hospital with undetermined injuries.
As of late Tuesday morning, he was listed in “serious” condition at CCH.
The Ontario Ministry of Environment has been notified because of a fuel spill from the aircraft. While the wreckage is roughly a half kilometer in the bush, east of County Road 27, the smell of aviation fuel was very noticeable along the highway.
O.P.P. say three of their officers and two paramedics had to be treated for minor injuries at hospital due to exposure to the fuel.
The Transportation Safety Board is also involved, which is customary with major incidents involving aircraft.
“The plane is severely damaged,” Smith noted.
South Glengarry firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to cut the fuselage in order to get a backboard into the plane to recover the pilot. He was carried out by firefighters to a waiting ambulance from the Cornwall-SDG Paramedic Services.
There were South Glengarry firefighters from the Glen Walter and Lancaster stations on scene.
The Ministry of Environment and the Transportation Safety Board will likely start their work at daybreak Tuesday.