Family able to escape from plane crash

GHENT — A family of four from Ripley, Ohio, on their way home from Boston survived with minor injuries after their plane crash-landed in a pond just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8.

The pilot, Seth Meranda, 39, was flying the single-engine Cessna home, returning from Massachusetts General, where his wife, Tina, 42, was undergoing experimental treatment for lung cancer.

A report on the Cincinatti.com website said that Mr. Meranda specifically earned a pilot’s license last October so he could fly his wife to and from her treatments.

County 911 dispatched Sheriff’s patrols to an airplane accident at the Kline Kill Airport at the intersection of county routes 21 and 21B at 5:56 p.m., according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.

A witness told deputies he saw the small aircraft attempt to land on the grass runway at the rural airstrip. He said it appeared the pilot touched down too far down the runway, then tried to maneuver the plane back up into the air, but struck a tree at the end of the runway and crashed into a pond. The occupants were able to get out of the plane before it sank. Two people nearby helped the family out of the water.

The Chatham Rescue Squad took Mr. Meranda with back pain, Mrs. Meranda with arm and shoulder injuries and Austin, 9, to the Albany Medical Center for evaluation. Preston, 12, who was also aboard, was not hurt.

The plane is a four-passenger, single engine, fixed-wing-above-the-passenger-compartment-model.

The Merandas were flying from Boston to Ohio with a planned stop at Albany International Airport. The pilot diverted to the Kline Kill Airport due to stormy weather conditions.

Deputies remained on the scene overnight and the investigation resumed in the morning June 9 with investigators from the National Traffic Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Sheriff’s Office.

On the scene for the Sheriff’s Office were Sergeant John DeRocha, Investigator Patrick Logue, Deputies Louis Bray and Bernard Roberts. Ghent firefighters were also on the scene.

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