Two dead in weekend's 2nd plane crash

June 22, 2008 9:02:56 PM PDT
William Crean's longtime girlfriend says he loved to fly. This morning he died in a crash about a mile from the Millville Airport. Sgt. Stephen Jones of the New Jersey State Police said, "The plane took off from the runway, banked shortly after takeoff and headed off this way... and seemed to lose control and went down in the woods."

Crean was flying his Aero L-29 Delfin. Those who knew him well say he was an excellent pilot and believe something went wrong with the aircraft.

He took off around 8:00 this morning. A friend from Williamstown, whom police are not identifying at this time, was with him.

"The both of them were dead on arrival here when rescue crews arrived. Their bodies actually remained in the wreckage for some time until the question of this jet, a former military style jet, had an ejection seat and whether the ejection seat was armed," said Sgt. Jones.

The L-29 Delphin is a military plane from the Cold War-era - originally built in Czechoslovakia. It was used as a trainer by the Soviet Air Force. The jet can only seat two people, and according to public records, the particular plane that crashed Sunday was built in 1971 and was approved for exhibitions. It had been on display at air shows at the Millville Airport in recent years.

Initially, authorities couldn't find the crash site. They searched by air and on ATVs and finally found it about a mile into the woods. Investigators began combing through the mangled metal and debris looking for clues into the cause of the crash.

So far there's no word on cause. The FAA has been handling the case thus far, but an administration spokeswoman tells Action News the NTSB will take over tomorrow.