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Fiery scene near Merrimack River as airplane crashes in Bedford

A photo of a piece of the plane, as seen through underbrush.
Jeffrey Hastings
Manchester InkLink
Initial reports are that the crash involved a single-engine freight aircraft that was heading for Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

BEDFORD, NH – A Michigan man piloting a small aircraft bringing medical supplies to Manchester from New Jersey perished in a fiery crash late Friday.

This story was first published by Manchester InkLink.

First responders from Manchester arrived at the scene of the crash in the woods next to the Merrimack River after receiving an initial call for a plane crash in the area of 69 Olmstead Ave. in Manchester at about 11:35 p.m.

Crews arrived on the scene to a brush fire in the woods in the area of 114 Technology Drive and the heavy odor of jet fuel. The first of several 911 calls came in at 11:36 p.m. to Bedford Communications Center at 11:36 p.m. reporting a plane crash on the shore of the Merrimack River in the vicinity of 14 Technology Drive. Fire crews searched the woods and worked to extinguish the burning brush and trees as rescuers worked to make their way to the crash site. Remnants of the aircraft were located on the shore of the river and partially submerged. Manchester firefighters launched boats to deploy oil booms to prevent oil from flowing downriver.

Credit: Jeffery Hastings/Manchester InkLink

Bedford Police on Saturday morning identified the pilot as Emanuel Vomvolakis, 23, of Linden, Mich., although positive identification will be confirmed following an autopsy by the Chief Medical Examiner, Bedford police said. The aircraft was transporting medical supplies but crashed shortly after the pilot reported engine trouble minutes before the scheduled landing.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration the aircraft, a Swearingen SA-226, crashed in the Merrimack River just outside Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire at 11:30 p.m. Friday.

The twin-turboprop aircraft, operated by Castle Air, experienced engine failure on final approach. The flight took off from Essex County Airport in Fairfield, NJ. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. The pilot was the sole occupant.

The public is asked to avoid the Bedford Heritage Trail in the area of 14 Technology Drive at this time.

We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.

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