4 Injured After Small Plane Crash In West Deer

WEST DEER (KDKA) — Four people were hospitalized after a field trip ended in a plane crash.

Two 13-year-old students from Charles Houston Middle School, a 42-year-old science teacher and the 57-year-old pilot were injured when the plane skidded off the runway at Rock Airport and went down an embankment in West Deer.

“Houston Middle School has what they call a ‘Flying Eagle’ field trip and they’ve done this for years at our facility,” West Deer Twp. Police Chief John Lape said.

The pilot had just returned with two students aboard around 10 a.m. Then two other students boarded.

“Upon our arrival, we noticed we had a small aircraft off the edge of the runway. We had four individuals trapped in the aircraft,” Lape said.

Before emergency crews arrived, four PennDOT workers training nearby sprung into action when they saw the plane veer off the runway and go over the 100-ft embankment.

“Actually, they made sure the aircraft was shut off,” Lape said. “They opened up the hood to make sure there was no overheating and make sure no sparks would ignite the fuel that was leaking which was coming out of the wing on the right side of the aircraft.”

“I noticed the fuel coming out from under the wings – the fuel pump was still on,” Dwight Ashbaugh, a PennDOT worker, said. “We had the pilot, even though with his injuries, he was able to shut the fuel pump down.”

Eric Shingledecker, a PennDOT worker who is also an EMT, knew what to do.

“I went to the one that seemed to be the most injured and as I was checking him out, I was asking everybody else questions to assess them at the same time,” he explains, “and I just started putting shirts over their wounds to stop the bleeding on the one that seemed to be in worse shape.”

The PennDOT workers are being called heroes, but they don’t see it that way.

Both students and the science teacher was taken to Allegheny General Hospital. The pilot was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation.


More Local News
More West Deer Township News
West Deer Township Police
Rock Airport

  • Sari

    Hope everybody turns out to be okay <3

  • Cheryl

    Hope everyone is okay. We always worry about that since we are under the flight path of the flight lessons at the airport. They fly low over our houses. Saw the helicopters flying around this morning and thought they were from the flight school, too.

  • Jen

    OMG! I Hope everybody is ok! That airport is right behind my house and they fly sooo low. I’m always paranoid one will crash into my house!

  • Dan

    > There is no word about the conditions of the four people at this time, but one
    > was taken to a local hospital via helicopter

    Yes there is, read your own article: “He said his son is okay and has already had CT scans and X-rays taken.”

    Hopefully the other three fair just as well. Best of luck to them!

  • Joan

    One of them was Richard Calendar’s son, Ian. I don’t think he was the one with the serious injuries though.

  • http://transportdisasters.inthenewsheadlines.com/4659/small-plane-crashes-in-west-deer-twp/plane-crashes/ Small Plane Crashes In West Deer Twp. | Transport Disasters

    […] Read the full story about Small Plane Crashes In West Deer Twp. […]

  • John

    I got to the high school in that district and from what i have heard, both students and the teacher are all ok, and are being kept for observations.

  • Rebecca

    I live in Erie, PA and my husband is one of the PennDot workers. So proud of him and the rest of the workers, doing what needed done! Its good to know there are still people out there who will help out strangers!

    • Dr. Severs

      Very nice! Penn Dot workers always get a bad rap, glad to hear,

  • Dave

    I hope everyone is ok. If it’s the same plane that was buzzing my neighborhood on Tuesday then the school district needs to re-think their field trips. The plane was circling and flying so low I thought it was going to clip the trees.

  • Pete

    The pilot landed the plane and veered off the runway. What does the plane “buzzing your neighborhood” have to do with anything.

  • Dave

    Maybe it was pilot error Pete. The flying I saw was very dangerous. Maybe it has something to do with his ability to control the landing too. I’m just saying that what I witnessed was bad.

  • Joey

    My grandpa was training,for PenDot, in pittsburg right next to the feild where the plane went down.

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