When she came home from church on Sunday, Margaret Hodgdon saw a plane in a field near her home.
“It was a strange feeling,” said Hodgdon. Until “we found out no one was hurt.”
The single-engine Beech 77 aircraft had made an emergency landing around 10:30 that morning on the Hodgdon property, just north of the South Blue Hill public boat launch, according to Jim Peters, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration.
According to a Hancock County Sheriff’s Office press release, the plane was piloted by Scott Morton of Worcester, Mass. The plane was flying from Sterling, Mass., to the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton.
As the plane approached Tinker’s Island in Blue Hill Bay, its engine, starved for fuel, stalled. Unable to restart the engine, Morton saw the field and executed an emergency landing. Neither Morton nor his passenger was injured.
Blue Hill’s Civil Emergency Preparedness Director and Fire Chief Denny Robertson said there was likely a malfunction with the plane. “He realized there was a problem coming up by Tinker’s Island,” Robertson said of the pilot. “He picked the best chance he had. He did an outstanding job, in my opinion.”
Phil Tanguay, a long-time pilot with more than 12,000 flying hours and neighbor to the Hodgdon field where the plane landed, said in his opinion the plane will fly again. He also said the plane’s problems were not due to simply “running out of gas,” but that one of the plane’s two gas tanks had not properly been feeding gasoline to the engine. “The right tank emptied out but the left tank didn’t,” said Tanguay, who said he did not see the landing.
Tanguay also lauded Morton’s landing job. “He did a superb job of putting it down where he did,” said Tanguay.
Peters of the FAA said the incident is under investigation, and the extent of the damage to the aircraft has not yet been determined.