MANVILLE, NJ – A single-engine Cessna 172 plane crashed into the treetops along the south side of the Manville Causeway Tuesday around noon on its approach to the runway at Central Jersey Regional Airport in Hillsborough.
The pilot, identified as a 33-year-old Somerset County resident, told authorities the plane’s engine had stalled, forcing him to land in the wooded area short of the runway an estimated 70-75 feet in the air, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.
There were no other passengers.
He was uninjured and managed to make a call on his cell phone to report the incident; he remained trapped in the trees for nearly four hours until rescue personnel using a bucket lift truck from a landscaping company were able to remove him from the plane.
Aerial photos and video from news helicopters showed the plane intact, sitting on top of the tree canopy supported by the tree limbs.
Removal of the plane is expected on Wednesday.
Police and rescue personnel from Manville, Hillsborough and several surrounding towns responded.
The Federal Aviation Authority and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.