CHESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - Police, fire and first-aid personnel rushed Tuesday to the Black River Wildlife Management Area after several people walking on a trail there reported that a low-flying plane seemed to disappear and might have crashed.
However, a search that lasted about an hour and included the use of several helicopters turned up no sign of a downed aircraft.
The incident was reported at about 4:50 p.m.. Within minutes, emergency personnel had gathered at the intersection of the Black River Park Trail and Pleasant Hill Road. The area is a wide wetland, a place where - authorities said - a seasoned pilot would likely aim when in trouble and looking for a place to come down.
"Multiple witnesses said the plane came in low to the river here and they lost sight of it around the bend," said Chester Volunteer Fire Co. #1 Chief Toby Drysdale at the scene. "They thought it went down." He said the witnesses were walking on the trail that flanks the river.
After making numerous passes over the swampy area, the NorthSTAR Air Medical Helicopter was running low on fuel and, having seen no sign of a plane, left the area. The numerous other personnel, including some from the New Jersey State Park Service and Morristown Airport left soon thereafter and a quiet darkness returned to the wetlands.