The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 3, 2003

News

Local resident initiates plane crash response

It was a Carlisle resident, Lisa Wiesner, who saw the plane crash in the Estabrook Woods and made the 911 call that got an emergency response under way. Last Saturday, September 27, the pilot, an Oswego, N.Y. physician, Dr. Ravindra Shah, and his wife, Dr. Manjula Shaw, were fatally injured when their Cessna 182T Sky Lane went down without warning on its approach to Hanscom Field.

Carlisle was well represented in the area response to the emergency. The town sent four fire fighters, an ambulance, a fire engine, two cruisers, and two police officers to the scene, and these, with emergency response personnel and equipment from other area towns, assisted Concord in the arduous work of getting to the scene and securing the crash site.

Weisner was taking a run on a loop which started at the Punkatasset trail head on Monument Street and turned south on Estabrook trail (see map). She heard a plane immediately overhead and almost simultaneously heard what she describes as "a big thump" ahead of her. She could see a few downed trees, but as she continued toward the crash site, it was the increasingly strong smell of gasoline that guided her until she saw the plane. Nothing was moving at the site and she started running toward Monument Street to get help. On the trail, she met a couple with a cell phone who was able to place a 911 call. She then continued to Monument Street to wait for police and fire emergency crews to lead them to the crash site.

Hanscom had notified Concord police that a plane had dropped from their radar screen on the approach to Hanscom, but it was Weisner's call that focused the search effort. Lieutenant Macone, of the Concord police commended Wiesner for her prompt and responsible actions.

Carlisle's emergency response

Concord asked the Carlisle Fire Department to send an ambulance and pick-up truck to Hutchins Farm on Monument Street at 11:24 a.m. on Saturday, and then at 12:52 p.m. called again to ask for an engine to cover Concord's Station 1. Four firemen went with this equipment and the men with the engine stayed at the fire station until 5:00 p.m.

Carlisle's Police Department received a call at 11:54 a.m. and sent two cruisers with an officer to the crash scene. Lincoln and Bedford also furnished mutual aid. In a telephone interview, Carlisle Fire Chief Dave Flannery commented on the difficulty of implementing emergency activities in an isolated, wooded area like the Punkatasset area, where there are paths, rather than roads. In fact, emergency vehicles were unable to reach the crash site and had to wait for four all-terrain vehicles to access the plane. Flannery recalled a plane crash in Towle Field in the 1950s in which the emergency operation was easier because of the open location.

Complicated crash clean-up

Lieutenant Macone of the Concord police told the Mosquito on Tuesday that all trails are now open. The crash scene is cordoned off and a police officer will remain at the site until the wreckage has been removed, which he hoped would occur by Thursday, October 2. Macone was uncertain how this would occur; whether by land over the Estabrook trail, or by helicopter. It will be a complicated operation. The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the crash investigation, and Macone indicated it might be sometime before their crash report will be completed and released.


2003 The Carlisle Mosquito