The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a plane crash Monday night on Great Moose Lake in Hartland.

Jim Peters, spokesman for the FAA New England Region, said Tuesday the FAA’s Portland Flight Standards District Office will investigate the crash, but he said a cause won’t be immediately known.

“We probably went out today, looked at the aircraft and we’ll talk to the pilot at least to find out what happened, and we’ll go from there,” Peters said. “It takes a while to determine what happened.”

The crash occurred around 6:40 p.m. Monday when pilot Kenneth Comfort, 53, of Palmyra, was trying to land his Cessna 180 plane with floats in the lake about a half-mile from the town boat landing. The plane flipped over with Comfort and his passenger, Thad Rines, 27, of Corinna, strapped in their seats.

Comfort and Rines, who weren’t hurt, managed to get out of the plane and onto the plane’s belly. They were rescued by a person with a pontoon boat and brought to shore.

The person who took them ashore also towed the plane to within about 60 feet of the boat landing Monday night, according to Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Jackson, who was at the scene.

As Hartland and Canaan firefighters arrived at the scene off Great Moose Road, only the pontoons from the plane were visible in the water. The plane was removed from the lake Tuesday morning.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Emergency Response Team was sent to the scene Monday night to check whether gasoline may have leaked from the plane into the water, according to David Madore, the DEP’s communications director.

Madore said Tuesday afternoon that the team “assessed the situation and did not see any leaking.”

As a precautionary measure, DEP officials left material behind that would help with a leak, should one occur when the plane was removed Tuesday, Madore said.

Comfort, the pilot, was at the lake Tuesday but declined to comment on the crash.

Meanwhile, Jackson and Hartland fire Chief Tim Kuespert said Monday night that Comfort and Rines were cold and shivering from being in the cold water, but otherwise appeared OK. Rines had been working on Comfort’s camp earlier in the day, according to Jackson

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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