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Jun 14, 2015 1:17 PM

UPDATE: Plane that crashed in North Hampton was owned by Biddeford, Maine man


NORTH HAMPTON - The plane that crashed near Hampton Airfield on Sunday morning belonged to Ronald Gagnon of Biddeford, Maine, according to the Federal Aviation Administration records.

It was not clear whether Gagnon was piloting on Sunday when two men crashed the Piper PA-28 into the trees and escaped as the plane burned.

The plane is listed as a fixed wing, single engine aircraft and is owned by Ronald and Doris Gagnon. Registration was recorded as valid.

At a news conference by the airfield, emergency responders said they found the two men outside the plane when they arrived on the scene.

The pilot was standing but had some facial injuries. The passenger, while conscious, was lying down and had suffered burns to his torso and potentially other injuries as well, said Lt. Jason Lajoie, of the North Hampton Fire and Rescue Department. Authorities were not releasing names pending notification of families.

Both men were taken to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, but the passenger was then airlifted to a hospital in Boston due to the nature of his injuries.

"I was very surprised they were able to exit the aircraft on their own," Lajoie said. "It actually went through the trees and impacted the ground." He said the tree branches may have helped to break the fall.

The front end of the plane was damaged, but the cockpit was largely intact. One wing of the plane broke off and was in the trees. The fuselage also was damaged, he said.

Firefighters put out the plane fire, which Lajoie said was relatively minor. "Fire damage was not extensive at all."

North Hampton Police Chief Michael Maddocks said the plane had landed at the airfield, and the crash occurred after take-off. The plane hit the trees about 150 yards from the nearest house on Cedar Road. Rescuers had to drive down a long driveway and push their way through thick brush to get to the plane.

Maddocks said the plane was not based out of the Hampton Airfield and he did not know where they were headed.

The plane was a Piper PA-28 and the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the N.H. Bureau of Aeronautics. Maddocks said there was an earlier plane crash about a year ago at the Hampton Airfield.

A neighbor of the airport said she heard a plane hit the trees - then saw fire. She said the plane engine "sputtered."

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