Two injured in single-engine plane crash in Snyder County
SELINSGROVE - Two men were injured Friday when a single-engine airplane crashed near the approach-end of the runway at Penn Valley Airport.
The accident was reported to Snyder County 911 at 2:19 p.m.
It's unclear if the pilot was taking off or landing.
"Both people got out of the airplane under their own power," said Dave Hall, airport director of operations.
They were taken by ambulance to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where the pilot was listed in serious condition by a hospital nursing supervisor.
Hall said no one at the airport saw the crash. He was in the administration building on the opposite end of the runway, which measures at 4,760 feet. A motorist passing by the airport saw the wreckage and called 911, he said.
"To be honest, I did not know it happened until I heard the sirens," he said.
Hall said the pilot is local and hangars his aircraft at the Penn Valley Airport, located about a mile north of Selinsgrove.
The plane is a two-passenger 1953 Piper PA-22-135 Pacer and is registered to Orvis H. Cromley, of Lewisburg, according to online sources. His identity and that of a passenger was being withheld by authorities, and Hall would not confirm them.
Cromley was listed in serious condition at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, according to a nursing supervisor.
While that same supervisor would not provide a name for the passenger, she did say the person who came in with Cromley was in serious condition as well.
The runway was still active when emergency personnel arrived on scene as another aircraft was expected to land, according to Jeff Buckley, chief of the Hummels Wharf Fire Company. That aircraft's pilot was informed that the runway was closed. It took between three to five minutes to close it, allowing access to ambulance and fire personnel.
The aircraft did not catch fire but did leak fuel, and Northridge Group Inc., based in Northumberland, was called to clean it up, he said.
The nose of the aircraft was crushed against the asphalt runway, its wheels bent outward on either side. Both front doors were damaged but a rear pilot-side door was open, indicating that was the exit used by the pilot and passenger. Its right wing partially snapped and its tip rested on the ground, and its propeller and windshield were off the aircraft.
During the cleanup, Hall said he wouldn't speculate on how the accident occurred or what took place in the air with the pilot and his passenger.
"They fly here often, and he's an experienced flyer," he said.
The airport made a Notice to Airman informing pilots that the runway was closed. It reopened a few hours later once the wrecked aircraft was cleared and the scene cleaned up.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was informed of the crash, Hall said. The FAA would in turn inform the National Transportation Safety Board, which would conduct an investigation.
Several people inside the administration building said the federal shutdown was expected to hold up the process as there was no one on duty to immediately respond.
At approximately 4:15 p.m., the aircraft was towed back to an empty hanger by Paul Stine Chevrolet in Selinsgrove.
The airport caters to approximately 50 aircraft, ranging from corporate jets to small, light airplanes, and is heavily used by local businesses and small charter groups, Hall said.
It is also the headquarters of a flight school, he added.
Assisting at the scene were fire personnel from Hummels Wharf, Shamokin Dam and Selinsgrove, along with DH&L Ambulance of Selinsgrove and state police from the Selinsgrove barracks.