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Plane runs off runway, two hurt

Plan came to a top about 50 feet from I-81

Plan came to a top about 50 feet from I-81

June 21, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A father and daughter from Michigan were hurt Thursday afternoon when their single-engine plane ran off the end of the runway at the Hagerstown Regional Airport, crashing onto a grassy berm less than 50 feet from Interstate 81.

The Mooney Executive 21 plane remained upright and showed little visible damage to the wings or passenger compartment. Traffic continued to whiz by as Maugansville Volunteer Fire Co. and Community Rescue Service personnel arrived shortly after the 4:24 p.m. call.

Hans Georg Stuermer, 67, and his daughter, Tanja Jessica Stuermer, 22, both of Brooklyn, Mich., were taken by Community Rescue Service ambulance to Washington County Hospital.

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A hospital nursing supervisor said Thursday night that Hans Stuermer was being transferred to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Tanja Stuermer was going to be released but was expected to accompany her father to Baltimore, the nursing supervisor said.

Reed Sehon of Hancock said he was watching the plane before it crashed.

"I was sitting along the road watching touchdowns when I saw this plane landing very far down the runway," Sehon said. As Sehon continued to watch, the plane dropped out of sight.

"It was rather amazing ... I assumed it was going to do a touch and go but it didn't," Sehon said.

When the plane went off the end of the runway area, Sehon got in his car and rushed out onto I-81 to see if he could help.

"People had already stopped and gone to help them," Sehon said. "The man was in the grass on his back and the woman was sitting up nearby."

Russell Guessford of JRA Executive Air Inc. was getting equipment ready for a truck transport today when he saw the plane come in a little short Thursday afternoon.

"He was moving from side to side on the runway like he was trying to get stopped," Guessford said.

Guessford and others from JRA went to the scene to see if they could be of help.

Throughout the post-crash operations Thursday afternoon, all the runways at the airport remained open after they were checked for debris, said Airport Manager Carolyn Motz.

"I was up on the runway area above the crash site," Motz said. She said Ed Rakowski, operations/airport security manager at the airport, was alongside I-81 where the plane came to rest.

"We were very pleased at how the airport staff handled the incident," said Motz, who couldn't recall another crash at the airport in the last couple of years.

Maugansville Fire Chief Phil Ridenour said there was no fire at the time of the crash and only a small fuel spill. "It was a four-passenger plane but there were only two people on board," Ridenour said.

Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Howard said the Stuermers were enroute from Jackson, Mich. to Delaware. He didn't know the purpose of their trip or why they were trying to land in Hagerstown.

Traffic was narrowed to one northbound lane because of the emergency vehicles at the scene. Both lanes were open for traffic as of 8 p.m., Sgt. L.A. Mastiano of the Maryland State Police said. Troopers provided traffic control for several hours after the accident.

Still vehicles were moving slowly as drivers tried to get a glimpse of the gold and white plane sitting along the side of the interstate.

After Federal Aviation Administration representatives completed their investigation of the crash, the plane was moved into a hangar, police said.

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