Crash averted

Personnel and equipment from the Sheridan Fire Department, Alstar ambulance, Chautauqua County Fire Coordinator, and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department converged on the Dunkirk Airport Thursday afternoon at about 5:15 p.m.

The pilot of a small plane reported problems with the plane’s landing gear, prompting the emergency personnel to gather.

County Sheriff Joseph Gerace and Undersheriff Charles Holder reported to the scene. Gerace said that they were able to report to the scene because they were in the area rather than at headquarters in Mayville.

The volunteer firemen from Sheridan gathered and drove the emergency vehicles past the gate onto the runway. Personnel from Alstar drove the ambulance onto the runway.

About 10 minutes later, a small plane was sighted in the sky. Gerace explained, “He is going to circle for awhile to burn off some of the fuel. That’s done so it will be less of a fire hazard.”

Gerace used binoculars to track the movement of the plane and see out onto the runway.

At about 5:30 p.m., the plane landed. The emergency radio was soon heard, indicating that the landing was safe and that there were no injuries.

Carl Bjorlin, an employee at the airport, said this type of landing is called a “gear up” landing, meaning that the landing gear had not descended.

“It’s not that unusual,” he said. “This is not the first one and it will not be the last. … We call emergency personnel just to make sure and be prepared if there is a problem.”

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