UPDATE: Two occupants who were hospitalized after their single-engine Coast Guard auxiliary plane crash-landed in a Cresskill athletic field yesterday were in stable condition this morning, authorities said.
Meanwhile the plane remained at the edge of a bank of trees in Regan Field next to the Cresskill Swim Club off 3rd Street (photos, above), pending a National Transportation Safety Board investigation.
“If it was another hour from now this field would have been packed with kids playing football,” Cresskill Police Chief Edward Wrixon told The Daily Voice of Bergen-Passaic.
“There were a lot of people around, though,” he added. “Kudos to the pilot for putting it down where he did.”
Jack Rosenberg and Erik Pearson had intended to set the 1978 Cessna Skyhawk down in a Tenafly field, but there were too many people around, the chief said. They ended up in the safest spot around 4:45 p.m., he said.
Both were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center by ambulance after responders cancelled a medical helicopter.
Although both were conscious and alert, Wrixon said he “would consider their injuries serious — compound fractures, lacerations.”
The pair had been surveying the Hudson River and “were experiencing some difficulties and some problems with the plane,” the chief said. “From what we’re gathering, they checked in with one of the towers at LaGuardia [Airport].
“They were going to try and make it to the Hudson River, but they ended up here.”
Cresskill police, firefighters and EMTs were first on the scene. Also responding were officers and emergency workers from various surrounding towns and the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police.
Local officials were awaiting investigators from the NTSB. Meanwhile, they’d cordoned off the area as they would a crime scene.