Updated: Pilot suffers 'traumatic' injuries in crash at Pittsfield airport

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PITTSFIELD — An unidentified pilot suffered "traumatic" injuries early Sunday after his plane crashed at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport, according to the Pittsfield Fire Department.

The Cessna 172 aircraft veered into a ditch at about 11:45 a.m. Sunday as it was attempting to land on Runway 26, according to a statement from a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

The plane sustained substantial damage. The pilot, who is believed to be a student, was the only person on board.

An employee of Lyon Aviation, which fuels and maintains the planes at the airport, extricated the pilot from the aircraft, Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said.

Pittsfield firefighters responded to the crash at the airport on Tamarack Road.

First aid was administered by emergency responders, assisted by Action Ambulance, and the pilot was transported to Berkshire Medical Center with "traumatic but what [are] believed to be non-life-threatening injuries," according to a prepared release by the fire department.

Response crews remained on the scene as the aircraft was leaking fuel. No other injuries were reported, but by officials' preliminary estimate, the aircraft was totaled.

Rescue procedures worked as designed, said airport manager Robert Snuck. Fire rescue workers arrived quickly and went through the proper gates to access the scene.

The aircraft came from Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut, Snuck said. The owner of the plane is Munidat Persaud of Waterbury, Conn., according to online records.

Oxford Flight Training, an active flight school at the Waterbury-Oxford airport, is owned by Raj Persaud, according to the school's website.

Snuck, who said he believes the pilot was a student, could not confirm the owner's name or whether he was connected to the flight school. But several online publications have listed a Munidat "Raj" Persaud as the owner of a Guyana-based company called Oxford Aviation, which is affiliated with the Connecticut school.

Larger airports such as Logan Airport in Boston do not allow student pilot access, Snuck said. At Pittsfield Municipal Airport, a public-use airport receiving public funds, any licensed pilot, including students, can take off or land, Snuck said.

The FAA is conducting the preliminary investigation into the accident. The agency will turn over its findings to the National Transportation Safety Board, which will determine the probable cause of the accident, according to the FAA's statement.

The FAA customarily provides the NTSB with information including statements, pilot's certificates, and weather information to assist in investigations, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the NTSB.

The "sole purpose" of the NTSB's investigation is to determine what went wrong to cause the accident, Knudson said.


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