SUMMERHILL TOWNSHIP — The crash of a single engine plane at a private airstrip near Conneautville Saturday has left a Saegertown man in the intensive care unit at Hamot Medical Center in Erie.

Robert C. Rust of Saegertown was listed in fair condition in the hospital’s intensive unit Saturday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A family member confirmed Saturday night Rust was the pilot of the plane that crashed as it attempted to land at the private airstrip along Wing Road in Summerhill Township, about three miles southeast of Conneautville.

The plane crashed around 11:30 a.m. as it was making a landing at the private airstrip, said Arlene Murray, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

“It was on approach to a private airstrip when it hit powerlines,” Murray said. “There were two people on board who were injured.”

Identities of the two persons weren’t released by the FAA.

Cpl. Donald Ott of the Pennsylvania State Police, who assisted in securing the crash scene for FAA inspectors, confirmed there were two people on board — a pilot and a 20-year-old passenger.

The plane, a 1958 single engine Champion 7FC, is owned by Minnette C. Clepper of Saegertown, Murray said. Attempts to contact Clepper by phone Saturday night were unsuccessful.

The utility lines the plane struck run east-west along Wing Road — perpendicular to the north-south oriented grass airstrip.

The front of the plane was visibly crumpled, its fix landing gear torn away and its left wing separated from the rest of the aircraft as it sat nosedown at an angle at the southern end of the airstrip.

The owner of the private airstrip is John Yanacek, according to state police.

Yanacek declined to talk to a Tribune reporter about the incident and asked the reporter leave his property who did.

Several neighbors living adjacent to the airstrip told the Tribune they didn’t see or hear the crash.

Murray said an FAA inspector has started an investigation into the crash and the National Transportation Safety Board may be involved as well.

The full investigation may take several months to complete, Murray said.

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