Plane down in Groton; two killed

(08/04/03) GROTON - A small plane hit three homes and crashed near the Poquonock River on Monday killing both people aboard, police and aviation officials said. Nobody on the ground was injured. The multiengine plane is registered to Jetpro LLC, a corporation based in New Hyde Park, Long Island.

Firefighters and police responded to the Poquonock River Bridge section of Groton at about 6:40 a.m. Pequonock Bridge Fire Marshall Michael Richards said the plane hit three homes, setting two of them on fire before landing in the river. Everyone in the homes escaped, Richards said.

One woman jumped from a window of her one-story home, and was being treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.

The Learjet was flying to Groton-New London Airport from Farmingdale Republic Airport on Long Island, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.

Catherine Young, the airport's manager, said the plane was on its second approach to the airport when it went down. The crash happened 20 minutes before the tower opened, and airport officials were using recordings of air-to-ground communication to piece together what happened, she said. The pilot crashed about half a mile from Runway 23, where he was landing, Peters said.

The FAA and state Department of Environmental Protection were on the scene, investigation the scene and cleaning up what could be up to 1,200 gallons of jet fuel from the water.

The names of the victims have not yet been released.


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