Bayport, New York – A single-engine airplane heading to upstate New York crashed on a street in a residential area on Long Island shortly after taking off from a nearby airport, officials said on Sunday.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner, Tim Sini, said the Piper 28, a small plane capable of carrying up to 4 passengers, was trying to return to the Bayport Aerodrome after experiencing engine trouble when it clipped a tree and utility lines before crashing to the pavement on Second Street near Third Avenue in Bayport around 7 p.m.

Two passengers in the plane were airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center. They are both expected to survive. Credit: ABC 7 New York

Witnesses narrate the incident

Michael Wikan, an eyewitness, said they were in their house when they heard a big crash. He said he looked out the window and saw a big, dark cloud of smoke rising into the air.

Another witness reported saw how the plane crashed. He said he was looking out his window at the moment of the accident. He said the plane stalled. He turned around to come back in and he went down. He hit the first pole, twisted around landed and went on fire and stuff.

“I was looking out my window, the plane stalled, twisted around, and it went on fire and stuff,” witness James Gallo said according to ABC 7 New York. “When he hit the pole, he flipped going south.”

Pilot and passenger injured

Local firefighters along with a group of neighbors rescued the pilot and a passenger from the burning plane, according to officials.

The pilot identified as Scott Clifford, 35, and a passenger, Michael Rome, 65, of Orange County, N.Y., were airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital. At 11 p.m. on Sunday, Mr. Clifford was hospitalized in serious condition with two broken legs and a head injury. Mr. Rome’s injuries were not life-threatening, the police said.

“This is nothing short of a miracle, both that the airplane did not hit any houses or any other individuals. The fact that right now, both occupants of the plane are alive is also nothing short of a miracle.” Sini told reporters Sunday as reported by CBS New York.

Source: CBS New York