WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) – A pilot suffered some burns Monday morning when his vintage plane burst into flames while landing at the Allegheny County Airport.
According to airport officials, the plane landed around 10 a.m. A cloud of smoke and flames could be seen in the distance from an airplane burning near the airport’s runway.
“Flames and a lot of smoke, and I inquired to others what had happened,” said Cheryl Freedman, a witness.
The fire started in an airplane described as a vintage single-engine, Russian-built World War II YAK plane.
The pilot, who is believed to be from Delaware, was on his way to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.
The pilot radioed the tower saying he was planning to land at the airport and wasn’t having any problems; but when his plane touched down on the runway, the tower noticed smoke was coming from the cockpit.
Freedman says airport rescuers got to the pilot, who was flying alone, after he jumped out of the airplane with severe burns.
“They brought him over pretty quickly to get treatment and my prayers are with the pilot,” she said.
“He was treated on site by EMS for burns to his face and body and then transported to UPMC Mercy,” said Jeff Marinelli, of the Allegheny County Airport Authority.
Eventually, West Mifflin firefighters put the fire out, but the airplane was badly damaged especially in the cockpit area. It was towed to a nearby hanger as part of the investigation by the FAA.