By Darren Marcy
MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS — Saturday's single-engine airplane crash appears to be the second time the pilot has survived running his plane out of gas.
Richard Piccirilli, 65, of Sun City, Calif., was treated and released at Rutland Regional Medical Center, according to Priscilla Latkin, a hospital spokeswoman.
He suffered several cuts and a possible broken wrist at the scene Saturday, according to a police press release.
His passenger, David Querry, 53, of Hemet, Calif., who reportedly suffered a large cut to the nose in the crash, was also treated and released, Latkin said.
The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration is ongoing, but so far, all signs point toward the plane running out of fuel.
Piccirilli reported he was flying from Burlington to Queensbury, N.Y., but had to divert when he found that airport was being used for a balloon festival.
The plane was destined for the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in North Clarendon when it ran out of fuel, the police press release said, and crashed in the field near Route 140 in Middletown Springs, about nine and a half miles short of the airport.
The Cessna 182E sustained significant damage to the nose and front landing gear from the impact.
The plane was still in the field Monday and is likely to be there for a few days as the investigation plays out.
Luke Schiada, the NTSB investigator assigned to the incident, said the investigation into the cause of the crash is in its very early stages.
Schiada said the NTSB will look into the aircraft and the pilot as part of its investigation.
The FAA will also be looking into the crash and could decide to take action once the investigation is complete and all the details are known.
Jim Peters, a spokesman for the FAA, said possible sanctions could include forcing the pilot to undergo retraining, a letter of warning, or the FAA could seek to suspend or revoke the pilot's license if the findings warrant it.
One factor investigators will likely consider is that in March of 2012, Piccirilli was forced to make an emergency landing in the same plane on a road in California after running out of fuel.
According to a press release issued by Joshua Tree National Park, Piccirilli was piloting a Cessna 182 with the same registration number from Pleasant Valley, Ariz., to Hemet, Calif., when he ran low on fuel due to strong head winds.
He was forced to land the plane on Pinto Basin Road inside the national park.
Neither Piccirilli nor his female passenger were injured but the plane sustained minor damage from hitting roadside vegetation, according to the report.
The FAA did not allow the plane to be flown out of the area, so it was removed with a tow truck.
Peters said the plane would stay in the field in Middletown Springs until the NTSB released it, at which point the owner would be responsible for removing it.
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