Two men were seriously injured when their small plane – registered to a man from Biddeford, Maine – crashed Sunday morning in North Hampton, New Hampshire, shortly after taking off from Hampton Airfield, authorities said.

The Associated Press, citing Federal Aviation Administration records, reported that the Piper Cherokee airplane is registered to Ronald L. Gagnon of Biddeford.

Gagnon was transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where he was listed in fair condition. Portsmouth Regional Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Notis confirmed Sunday night that Gagnon was a patient and was being treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Several Facebook friends of Gagnon posted get well messages, including one woman, who wrote, “Thanking God for protecting a very special friend today. Life is precious and I am so thankful he is Okay.”

A passenger in the single engine plane was be taken to a Boston hospital for treatment of burns. His name and condition were unavailable Sunday night.

Representatives from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board each said they won’t identify who is on board a plane crash until their investigations are complete – a process that can typically take months to finish.


“We never release the names of the people involved unless it’s a celebrity and everyone knows who it is,” said Terry Williams, an NTSB spokesman. Williams referred all questions about who was on board the plane to local fire and police officials.

“The FAA doesn’t identify persons on board aircraft,” Kathleen Berger, a spokeswoman for the FAA, said in an email. Berger said determining who was piloting the plane is part of the investigation.

North Hampton Police Chief Michael E. Maddocks and Fire Chief Michael Tulley, in a joint news release issued Sunday, said the name of the pilot and his passenger are not being released. They gave no explanation as to why.

According to local officials, the Piper Cherokee crashed in a wooded area around 9:19 a.m. on private property off Cedar Road. The plane came to rest in a wetlands area.

The occupants, both male, suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. One wing was ripped off, but police and fire officials said the plane was otherwise intact.

North Hampton Fire Department Lt. Jason Lajoie, during a news conference held Sunday in North Hampton, told the Seacoastonline newspaper that the aircraft was on fire when crews arrived. Lajoie said the pilot had facial injuries and the passenger suffered burns. Both men were outside the airplane when rescue personnel arrived.


“From past experience with plane crashes, I was anticipating that both would be dead or severely injured,” Lajoie told Seacoastonline. “I was surprised that they were both out of the plane and conscious.”

Maddocks and Tully said first responders had to walk down a long driveway and 150 yards through a wooded area to reach the crash site.

The chiefs said the pilot was able to walk out of the crash site with emergency personnel while the passenger – identified only as a male – suffered burns and had to be carried out.

Both men were taken to Portsmouth Regional Hospital. The passenger was later transferred to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston by helicopter.

Maddocks and Tully said Gagnon’s Piper Cherokee was not based out of the Hampton Airfield. They said the plane landed at the airfield and taxied before taking off. The crash happened shortly after takeoff. They said trees may have softened the plane’s impact when it hit the ground.

Authorities said the Piper PA-28 plane crashed about 2,000 feet from the end of the runway and approximately 150 yards from a home, the AP reported.

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a family of light aircraft designed for flight training, air taxi and personal use. The single-engine planes are built to hold two or four passengers.

Williams said the NTSB is leading the investigation, with assistance from the FAA, into the cause of the plane crash.

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