One person died when a small plane crashed into a wooded area of Lacey Township on Saturday night, estrategia crash blaze authorities confirmed on Monday.
The pilot’s identity has not yet been verified, according to the Lacey Township Police Department.
The crash of the single-engine Cirrus SR22 appears linked to a large wildlife near the Ocean County Airport, reported Saturday night not long after the crash. The fire grew to 831 acres, but was 70% contained by firefighters as of Monday morning.
Lacey police first learned of smoky conditions in the area of Dover and West Lacey roads shortly before midnight Saturday, officials said. As firefighters responded to the area Sunday, the downed plane was spotted near the blaze, Lacey police said in their Monday afternoon statement.
“Due to smoke and fire in the area, as well as the difficult terrain, authorities could not immediately access the scene of the airplane crash,” police noted. “The fire continued to spread, at which time the New Jersey Forest Fire Service activated their personnel.”
A total of 25 structures are at risk due to the blaze, the New Jersey Forest Fire service said.
Several fire agencies responded to the scene, including the Manitou Park and Bamber Lake fire departments, according to police.
The plane crash occurred at 10:18 p.m. Saturday about a half mile southwest of Ocean County Airport, said Peter C. Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
The flight departed from Monmouth Executive Airport in Farmingdale, Knudson said.
The NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.
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Rob Jennings may be reached at email@example.com.