2 dead after small plane crashes in Mansfield

Emergency personnel were at the Mansfield Municipal Airport.
Emergency personnel were at the Mansfield Municipal Airport. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)

MANSFIELD — An 18-year-old flight student and his teacher were killed Saturday after their single-engine plane crashed nose-first into the ground at Mansfield Municipal Airport, authorities said.

Julian Lattermann of Dover and instructor-pilot Sydney Miti, 32, of Waltham were killed on impact around 12:30 p.m., a little more than an hour after they took off from Norwood Airport, Mansfield police said in a statement Saturday night.

A radio transmission from the plane, a 2002 Cessna 172S owned by Horizon Aviation of Norwood, indicated it missed its approach while trying to land on a runway.

“Moments later, the Cessna flew past the Municipal Airport Administration Building and crashed into the turf landing area,” Mansfield police said in a statement Saturday night.


Speaking to reporters at the scene, Deputy Police Chief Michael Ellsworth said officials received a number of 911 calls from people who saw the crash.

Firefighters and police officers arrived to find the plane “nose-first into the ground” on a turf landing strip on the north side of the airport near Fruit Street, police said.

Firefighters sprayed foam on the plane to mitigate the effect of leaking fuel.

“When you’re dealing with any kind of fuel — fuel is incredibly volatile and you can have combustion,” Fire Chief Neal Boldrighini said at the scene.

Early Saturday evening, the white plane’s tail was sticking almost straight up, before it was lowered to the ground. It was later removed from the site, Mansfield police said.

Officials removed the two bodies, one by one, on stretchers from the closed-off area and into two black SUVs from the office of the state medical examiner before 5 p.m.

Lattermann and Miti were the only two people on the plane. Attempts by the Globe to reach their families were unsuccessful Saturday night.

Miti, the father of a 2-year-old son, had a passion for flying, his wife told Channel 5/WCVB news.


“I can’t imagine what could have gone wrong,” Dorween Nyaketcho told the station. “He told me today, ‘Hon, it is going to be a good day. The weather might change maybe later on, but the morning’s going to be fine.’ ”

Weather conditions at the time of the crash were high clouds, calm winds, and unlimited visibility, said Lenore Correia, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norton.

Mansfield police’s detective unit, State Police, and officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Airport Manager Robert E. Welch Jr. said in an e-mail he could not provide any information about the incident. The Bristol district attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment Saturday afternoon.

The plane is registered to New Horizon Aviation Inc., an FAA database says. Rylan Richard, a manager at the flight school based in Norwood and Warwick, R.I., said the company was “not commenting at this time” when reached by phone.

The plane was removed and turned over to FAA and NTSB officials, police said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this tragic time,” police said.

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