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4 Passengers Safe After Small Plane Lands In N.J. Lake

ANDOVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A small plane landed in a lake at a state park in New Jersey Friday afternoon.

Fortunately, the family made it out safely, including two kids.

It happened at around at Lake Aeroflex in Andover in Sussez County, about 30 miles from where it was supposed to land.

Small Plane Lands In Lake Aeroflex In Andover, N.J.
Four people were rescued after a small plane landed in Lake Aeroflex in Andover, N.J. on July 5, 2019. (credit: Matthew Putts)

The plane actually managed to touch down for a second on the Aeroflex runway, but then it bounced a couple of times and was unable to stop. It veered into the lake with four passengers aboard.

The Cessna C172 plunged into Lake Aeroflex at around 12:30 p.m. and started sinking.

"When it hit the water, within minutes, the plane had began to sink and submerge into the water. There happened to be a fisherman on the lake that observed the plane having the difficulties in landing," said Chief Eric Danielson of the Andover Township Police. "Very quickly, [he] got over to their location and was able to pluck them out of the water."

The pilot, another adult and two children - their relationships unknown - all managed to climb out of the plane and stand on the tail. They were treated on the scene and released.

The plane took off from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and was headed to Morristown airport, but were diverted to the Aeroflex-Andover airport. The details of what went wrong during landing are still being investigated by the FAA.

"My understanding, again, the plane might have been diverted for President Trump being in town in Bedminster, nothing to do with the plane itself," said Danielson.

The plane is registered to the Morristown Flying Club.

Audio from dispatchers after receiving the emergency call was captured by Broadcastify.

"There's a total of four occupants in the plane. As you said, the'yre all out. It's completely under the water. Once we get the boat here, we'll try and mark it out again like we did last time," a dispatcher said.

A former commercial pilot who still operates a private plane and lives in the area says Aeroflex Airport is a challenging place to land.

"There's no overrun, so if you don't make the stop by the end of the runway, you're going into a lake on the north side, which they did, and on the south side is a swamp. So it's almost like landing on an aircraft carrier," said Richard Miller.

A dive team used giant airbags to help lift the plane out of the water and connected it to a heavy-duty truck to pull it out.

This isn't the first time this has happened. In April 2018, a small plane crashed into the same lake. That pilot also got out OK.

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