SWANZEY, N.H. — At just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, Fire Mutual Aid received a telephone report from a Swanzey resident, who reported the pilot of a small glider appeared to be having trouble before crashing in the vicinity of the Mold Pro corporation, located at 51 Denman Thompson Highway near the Ashuelot River.
A second caller reported the aircraft had in the area of 179 Holbrook Roads.
In response, members of the Swanzey Fire Department and the Swanzey Police Department and Diluzio Ambulance responded to the initial call and established a staging area at Mold Pro.
Approximately 20 people took part in a ground search from the Mold Pro parking lot, assisted by aerial drones and off-road vehicles. Aerial drones were supplied by fire departments in Keene, Winchester and Troy, as well as the Brattleboro Reformer.
At a few minutes past 8 p.m., a caller reported to 911 that she had located the aircraft on her property in a swamp approximately 500 feet from Holbrook Avenue near the Ashuelot River. The caller told 911 that there were two occupants standing in the swamp and both appeared uninjured.
Emergency personnel from Swanzey and Diluzio Ambulance arrived at the crash site and reported there was a two-person, ultralight-style, power Shute aircraft which had struck a tree approximately 50 above the ground which damaged the aircraft and caused it to turnover in flight, according to a press release from the Swanzey Fire Department. As the aircraft fell, it struck a branch causing it to right itself and land in the swamp on its wheels.
The pilot, Robert Hutchinson Van Valzah, of Richmond N.H., and a passenger Patrick Blair, of Swanzey, told emergency personnel that they were not injured as a result of the accident and declined any medical treatment or transportation.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Bureau of Aeronautics, was notified and the bureau subsequently notified the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Traffic Safety Board, all three of which are now investigating the cause of the accident.