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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Plane crash leaves Colonia family homeless

Photo Credit: Photo Via Emma Moran
A picture of the main house affected, being engulfed in flames, shortly after the plane had crashed into it.

October 29 seemed to be a normal day for Colonia citizens, until disaster struck. It was a rainy, but humid Tuesday, when the sound of a small plane falling out of the sky hit this Woodbridge town.

“By far, one of the worst noises I have ever heard. The plane crash shook our entire house; it literally sounded like a bomb had struck the neighborhood,” a neighbor to the fire-ridden house commented. 

The plane was a double-engine Cessna 414, that had fallen out of the sky at approximately 11 AM. It had been said to take off from Leesburg Executive Airport in Virginia, and was planning to land in Linden Airport in New Jersey. For unknown causes, the plane had spiraled straight down from the air, setting three homes ablaze  when it landed through the roof and into the basement of one of the homes thus engulfing the entire house in flames. The flames spread to two neighboring homes.

The Crash

It is still unclear as to why the plane has crashed, but it is common for these planes to malfunction. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene and are looking into the investigation of why it crashed.

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There is now a Youtube video posted on October 31st, describing the aviation and course of the plane. In the video, one can hear the pilot speaking with EWR airport, right before the plane went down.

No one had been inside the house when the plane crashed into it, but the blast caused heat and fire damage to destroy the entire house. The fire also erupted into neighboring houses, but not as badly as the house where the plane hit. A Woodbridge policeman told ABC News that there was a woman in a neighboring house that was able to escape. 

“The Colonia Fire Department did an absolutely unbelievable job in knocking down the fire and preventing it from spreading to more than the three homes. Without them it could have easily been 33 houses in danger,” Woodbridge Township’s Mayor John McCormac said in an interview with The Declaration.

The Neighborhood

Neighbors were scared of their houses catching on fire, but more importantly, the fear arose that the trees surrounding the area could catch fire too. Berkley Avenue, along with Princeton Street (the street adjacent), are heavily forested areas. The community worried that the fire would catch onto the other trees. Luckily, it had been kept to a minimum. 

“It’s surreal,” McCormac said in an interview with Central Jersey. “I don’t know if there’s a playbook for plane crashes in your neighborhood.”

Schools in Colonia were on high alert, as they received Honeywell Notifications that there had been a “dangerous fire” in the area. Claremont Avenue School 22, which is in close approximation to the houses, went on lock-down for a few minutes until the schools gained news on what had happened. The elementary school was dismissed at 1 P.M. due to power being temporarily cut off.

“It was really scary to hear about over the news. Us students in the high school had no idea what was going on, but knew some of our friends who lived on that street. We didn’t know any details about the crash, yet,” Sophia Wintonick, a junior in Colonia had commented.

The Pilot

The solo pilot, Dr. Michael Schloss was the only one killed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. No other fatalities or injuries are on record.

Schloss was a New York City cardiologist. The New York Times, among many other news stations covering the crash reported on the Pilot. Airport Paul Dudley had added that Dr. Schloss was born in Brooklyn and lived in Virginia. “He regularly flew into Linden Airport, and was on his way to a New York-Presbyterian Hospital for a Grand Rounds lecture on Wednesday.”

Schloss,74 years old, worked as a professor and cardiologist at a New York University Hospital. “He had always had a passion for flying,” the New York Post quoted.

Go Fund Me

The demolished house had belonged to a husband and wife, and their 5 year old daughter.

Manuela Martinez, the niece of the family whose house had burned down, set up a Go Fund Me in order to raise money for her family. “I’m all the way in Florida, and I was sitting in class when my friend called me. She told me that a plane had crashed near my house, so I immediately called my mom. I could just tell by her voice, that something horrible had happened,” Martinez commented.

There is a $50,000 goal for this family from the Go Fund Me, who is now homeless from the plane crash. A day after setting up the page, 200 donors raised $10,000. The Go Fund Me is on Facebook and is on many other news outlets.

“My family needs all the support they can get. My aunt and uncle lived and raised their child in that house for over 15 years,” explained Martinez.

Mayor McCormac

In efforts to raise money for the Colonia residents, Mayor John E. McCormac announced another fundraiser. With the townships efforts, Colonia is trying to assist the families from the plane crash.

“We are very lucky that nobody was hurt on the ground as a result of the crash and we will keep the pilot and his family in our prayers,” said Mayor McCormac.

Woodbridge Township staff will be at the Evergreen Senior Center, located at 400 Inman Avenue in Colonia, on Wednesday, Oct. 30, Thursday, Oct. 31 and Friday, Nov. 1 from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM and on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM to receive donations. Donations in the form of checks payable to the Woodbridge Community Charity Fund and gift cards from established outlets will be accepted.

“As usual the people of Colonia specifically and of Woodbridge Township overall have risen to the occasion by donating thousands and thousands of dollars in checks and gift cards for the three families impacted by the plane crash. Our residents always help out others when they need it most,” McCormac commented on the residents of Colonia.

The Woodbridge community has come together to support everyone affected by this traumatic and devastating experience. Thank you to all responders for the hard work in stopping and investigating the crash/fire. Thank you to everyone who is supporting Colonia. The family, and people affected by this crash need lots of support, to get through this traumatic experience.

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About the Contributor
Angelina Wintonick, Co-Editor in Chief
Angelina Wintonick is a 17 year old senior at Colonia High School. She has lived in Colonia her whole life, from attending Pennsylvania Avenue School #27 for elementary school, to moving into junior high at Colonia Middle School, and now attends Colonia High School.  Angelina enjoys many things, from sports to movies, photography, shopping and hanging out with her friends. But most importantly, she enjoys playing volleyball, a sport she has loved since she was in third grade. Playing on the high school team here at CHS for four years, she also plays club volleyball for a national team, outside of school.  She has recently verbally committed to Saint Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. She will play volleyball there and continue her education after highschool. When she isn't playing volleyball, she enjoys hanging out with her younger sister, who is a junior at Colonia. She also enjoys reading novels along the genre of suspense and or thriller. Wintonick has been writing for the Declaration for three years, since she was a sophomore at Colonia.  

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Plane crash leaves Colonia family homeless