South Thomaston, Maine  – The pilot of a single-engine plane that crashed Sunday afternoon near the Knox County Regional Airport said he is fortunate to have survived.

“I’m lucky to be alive. I don’t have any broken bones, but I do have a lot of cuts and bruises,” said 75-year-old William Hamilton of Damariscotta. “I’m very sore tonight.”

Maine State Police said Hamilton’s Cessna 120 crashed moments after it took off from the airport around 2 p.m.

Hamilton said his plane seemed to lose power as it took off and clipped a tree before crashing in a field near Route 73.

The crash took place in South Thomaston, near the Owls Head town line.

“It started to burn almost immediately,” Hamilton said Sunday night. “I crawled out on my own.”

Hamilton said he must have crawled about 30 or 40 feet before people arrived to help him.

Owls Head Fire Chief Frank Ross III was one of the first emergency responders to arrive at the crash site.

“The plane was on fire when we arrived,” Ross said.

Hamilton said he had planned to take advantage of the good weather by flying to Jefferson and over Damariscotta Lake before heading back to the airport.

Hamilton said he was transported by ambulance to Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, where he was treated and released.

“It’s a shame. I rebuilt that plane over a period of several years,” Hamilton said. “I guess I’ll need to get a new hobby.”

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]