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Three hospitalized in Connecticut small plane crash

By Ben Hooper

July 30 (UPI) -- Three men were hospitalized Sunday morning when a small plane crashed just after taking off from a southwestern Connecticut airport, authorities said.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton tweeted Sunday morning that the small plane had crashed just after takeoff and three people who were on board the aircraft were rushed to Danbury Hospital.

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The Cessna 172S departed from runway 26 at Danbury Municipal Airport at 10:25 a.m. and crashed on a hill behind the Danbury Dog Park, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Stephen Williams, deputy fire chief for the Danbury Fire Department, said at a news conference later Sunday that all three victims were men. He said one of the men suffered life-threatening injuries, one was described as being in serious condition, and the third suffered minor injuries and was expected to be released from the hospital Sunday.

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The plane had been rented from an operator at the airport, authorities said.

Williams said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

"It may have been a pilot error or a mechanical problem, but it's still too early to determine," Williams said. "They did have a full tank of fuel, so it doesn't appear to be any type of issue like that. It's going to take them some time to go through the mechanical of the airplane and figure out what happened."

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Williams said the pilot likely attempted a safe landing.

"I'm sure the pilot was doing everything he could to get the plane down as safely as he could as soon as he realized he wasn't able to fly," Williams said. "What caused the condition that he couldn't continue to fly, I don't know, but I'm sure he did his best to get the airplane down as best he could."

Williams said the dog park will remain closed while authorities work to remove the wreckage of the 3,000-pound plane.

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"It's still pretty rough terrain," Williams said. "It's going to take us a while to investigate the accident and remove the airplane."

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