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Plane smashes into maintenance truck on LaGuardia runway; no one hurt

March 25, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ A private plane landing at La Guardia Airport smashed into a maintenance truck on the runway early today, sending two workers sprinting for cover and causing delays as the airport shut down.

No one was hurt, but the plane lost a wheel and was leaking fuel, said Richard Petillo, a spokesman for the Port Authority police. Foam was sprayed on the fuel to keep it from catching fire. The four people on the plane exited safely.

The accident shortly after 5 a.m. closed the airport for nearly two hours, and delays after operations resumed were expected to lengthen as the day wore on, said spokesman Bill Cahill of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airfield.

A federal investigator was at the scene.

The plane, a Gulfstream II owned by a company called Treasure Solutions, was arriving from Allentown, Pa., on runway 13-31. It had two passengers and two crew members.

Asked whether the plane and the truck had been cleared to be on the same runway at the same time, Cahill said: ``That’s what the National Transportation Safety Board will determine.″

An NTSB investigator, Randi-Jean Kukla, went to the scene and was talking to the flight crew, said Dennis Jones, regional director at the NTSB office in Parsippany, N.J.

The truck was already on the runway, its two workers doing routine maintenance on the runway lights, Petillo said. Both were treated for shock.

``They tried to clear for the inbound plane, but couldn’t get the truck started,″ he said.

The workers ran as the plane smashed into the cab of the truck, shearing off the aircraft’s right main landing gear.

``Luckily there was no fire,″ said Petillo. ``The people got off under their own power and our people laid down a foam blanket over the leaked fuel.″

Update hourly