Crews begin removing plane from Colonia home after crash

Posted: Updated:

Crews have begun removing the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into a Middlesex County house, killing the pilot.

Dr. Michael Schloss' plane crashed Tuesday morning in the Colonia section of Woodbridge Township. He was headed from Virginia to Linden Airport, about 3 miles from the crash site. Investigators say he didn't radio a distress signal before the crash. Authorities said Schloss' body was removed from the wreckage on Wednesday.

“They pulled a giant piece of the fuselage, a very big piece, was being hoisted by the crane,” says Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, noting that the investigation into the crash would take some time.

"As you know, if anytime there's a plane crash we have to look at every single aspect of that plane to see if we can figure out what happened,” he said.

RELATED: Florida doctor killed in small plane crash in Colonia neighborhood 
RELATED: Community comes together in wake of deadly plane crash that destroyed home 

The home the plane crashed into was destroyed and several others damaged by fire. But no one on the ground was hurt. McCormac says the situation could have been much worse, especially with how close the elementary school is to the area.

"We have to remember just how close that school is to here. When they shut down the electric to the block here, it also shut down the school,” the mayor said. “They're literally that close, they're on the same grid. We averted what would've been a massive tragedy."

Watch: Doorbell camera captures Colonia plane crash

McCormac also offered condolences to the pilot’s family. A longtime friend said Schloss was a retired New York cardiologist and skilled flyer with decades of experience. Linden Airport manager Paul Dudley said Schloss also was a licensed airplane mechanic.

Meanwhile, the Woodbridge community is coming together to help the families displaced by the crash. People have already dropped off donations at the Evergreen Senior Center in Colonia, which is the official site for donations. The township is also accepting cash, checks or gift cards for the families.

"Walking through the scene yesterday, I had multiple people asking, ‘What are we going to do? Is there gonna be a spaghetti dinner?’ The phones have been ringing off the hook,” says Woodbridge Councilwoman Debbie Meehan. “Everybody in this community has really just stepped up and wanted to help each other because that's the kind of community Woodbridge Township and Colonia is."

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to release a preliminary report on the crash by next week.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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