Sunday, April 20, 2014
Officials identified the two people killed in today's plane crash as Mark Haskell, 42, of Brunswick, the owner, and Thomas Casagrande, 66, of Portland.
Police said the wreckage of the Yak-52 would remain at the scene of the crash on Western Avenue until Sunday and motorists will not be allowed to use Western Avenue between Maine Mall Road and Foden Road until at least noon.
PORTLAND – Officials have confirmed that two people died when a small plane crashed near the Portland International Jetport this afternoon.
The names of the two have not yet been released and officials said they are still looking into the cause of the crash, which sent a single-engine plane smashing into Western Avenue about 3:30 p.m. There were apparently no injuries on the ground.
The tail number on the plane was N52MY. The Federal Aviation Administration website lists the plane with that tail number as a Yak-52, the same type of plane that local officials said crashed. The Yak-52 with that tail number is registered to Mark Haskell of Brunswick.
Officials said they haven't determined whether the plane was taking off or landing, although several witnesses said it had apparently just taken off and appeared to be banking back toward the aiport when it crashed.
Yak-52s are two-seat aerobatic trainers, according to Yak-aviation.com, a website that lists several of the aircraft for sale. It was originally built in the Soviet Union, but newer models are made by a Romanian company.
Courtney Lowe, who works at the Dunkin' Donuts across the street from the jetport, said the plane seemed to be at an unusually low altitude after taking off. She saw it bank to the left and then she went back inside the store. A few seconds later, she said, people rushed in saying a plane had crashed.
South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins said his officers have interviewed several witnesses to the crash, but have come to no conclusions. The FAA has begun its investigation, but the primary investigator has not yet arrived, officials said.
Drivers are being urged to avoid Western Avenue, said Nicole Clegg, a spokeswoman for the city of Portland. Officials said Western Avenue is likely to be closed through the evening.