Could take days to pull plane, find cause of crash in Colonia
WOODBRIDGE — It will take several days to recover the body of the pilot of a small plane that crashed into a house on Tuesday.
The pilot, Michael Schloss, was en route from Leesburgh, Virginia, to Linden Airport when his Cessna 414 crashed about 11 a.m., federal and local officials said.
The plane came down top of a house at 84 Berkeley Ave. in the Colonia section of Woodbridge, where an intense fire immediately broke preventing first responders from reaching the pilot.
Fire also damaged the structures at 80 and 88 Berkley, according to police. No one was home at the time in two of the houses while a woman and her two dogs made it out of a third, according to Mayor John McCormac.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson told New Jersey 101.5 on Wednesday that it will likely take at least two days for crews brought in by the homeowner's insurance company to completely remove the fuselage and engine of the plane.
Investigators are working with firefighters and first responders in what Knudson called the "intensive fact gathering stage" of their investigation to document the wreckage. They will issue a preliminary report on what caused the crash in about two weeks, Knudson said.
Knudson said he wasn't sure if the Cessna 414 has a black box or utilized avionics to monitor the electronics on the place but the information may be difficult to extract.
"I know there was a very significant post crash fire and generally avionics don't do well in those kinds of environments," Knudson said.
The owners of the house that was struck, Teresa Pitera and Jurek Kmiotekhe, said in a statement to ABC7 Eyewitness News that they were thankful for the support they have received and were thankful no one in the neighborhood was injured.
"Our thought and prayers are with the pilot of the plane," Pitera and Kmiotekhe said.
The niece of one of the other residents created a GoFundMe page to help with their recovery after their home of 15 years burned.
"This family’s entire livelihood is completely destroyed with all memories perishing in the fire," Manuela Sophia Martinez wrote on the GoFundMe page.
McCormac formally announced a fund accepting monetary donations to assist the residents of all three houses.
“Woodbridge is a town that takes care of people,” McCormac said at a news conference.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report
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