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Pilot, 87, unhurt after crashing plane into trees

A small plane hangs about 50 feet off the ground after its pilot crashed into trees near an airport Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Adams Regional Emergency Medical Service, Inc.

GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- The pilot of a small plane that crashed into trees near a Pennsylvania airport and was trapped in midair for hours was apparently unhurt, emergency officials said.

The crash near Gettysburg Regional Airport was reported around 12:30 p.m., CBS affiliate WHP reported. Fire departments and emergency units arrived at the scene, where the plane could be seen lodged in branches about 50 feet off the ground.


Rescue crews free an elderly pilot, left, after his small plane crashed into trees near an airport Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

911 Photography

It took about four hours for about 75 firefighters to free the pilot, whose name wasn't released, Russell McCutcheon of the Gettysburg Fire Department told WHP.

"The rescue was made more difficult by the fact that in was in the trees but also because the trees were so far off the road or the runway," McCutcheon said.

The pilot, whose name was not released, had some scrapes on his hands but was otherwise not injured. He was taken to Gettysburg Hospital for further examination.

According to firefighters, the pilot took off from Gettysburg but had engine failure. He attempted to make a U-turn but crashed into trees near the runway, landing nose down.

He had planned to fly to Clearview Airpark in Westminster, Maryland.

Gettysburg firefighter Jared Robinson said rescue crews originally thought they would use a Maryland State Police helicopter to fly above the plane and send a man down with a cable to get the pilot out, but because he was not seriously hurt, they used ladders from the ground.

The plane will remain in the tree until the Federal Aviation Administration and local Civil Air Patrol units investigate the scene and decide how to get it down.