Small plane loses power, crash-lands in airport parking lot

Aug 14, 2014

A small plane lost power and crash-landed in a mostly empty parking lot at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Thursday afternoon. No one was injured.

Three people were on board the aircraft: a female flight from Prior Aviation and a father and son who were going on a sightseeing trip around the area. The father and son are identified as Bing and Qiain Shen, 39 and 6 years old respectively. The instructor's name is Anastasiia Goldowski, 31.

NFTA Public Affairs Director Douglas Hartmayer, in a briefing to reporters late Thursday afternoon, said the airport's Fire Rescue Unit received a call from the tower around 2:54 p.m. saying a small plane had hit the terminal. That information ultimately ended up being incorrect.

Crews responded in a minute's time and found the single-engine Piper PA28 in the west end of the Preferred Parking Lot. The plane lost power when it was 200-300 feet above ground. It banked left and landed in a bushy, grassy area west of Luiz Kahl Way, the airport's main road. The plane skidded across the road and ended up in the lot.

Hartmayer says there were no injuries, no fire, little property damage, and minimal fuel spilled.

The pilot was taken to ECMC for observation. She was conscious the entire time. The father and son did not require medical assistance. They gave statements to NFTA Police. The Federal Aviation Administration was arriving to the airport from Rochester and will take over the investigation once they arrive. 

The airport remained open throughout the incident and there were no delays to flights arriving or departing. Entranceways to the airport were closed for a time and traffic became congested on Genesee Street.

"The airport never had to call a halt to any flights and never lost any aviation services. There was some minor disruption to the egress and departure off the airport property, simply for safety reasons," Hartmayer said.

Hartmayer called the incident a "successful crash" and called it "miraculous" that there were no injuries. He said the preferred lot would have been much fuller at busier travel times. He credited the work of first responders and fire companies that responded quickly to the scene.