Pilot dies after small plane crashes in New Bedford cemetery

Wreckage of the crashed plane sat in Rural Cemetery in New Bedford on Monday.
Wreckage of the crashed plane sat in Rural Cemetery in New Bedford on Monday.Peter Pereira/AP/Standard Times via AP

A pilot died Monday afternoon in a small plane crash in a New Bedford cemetery, officials said.

State Police said the crash happened at Rural Cemetery, located near the intersection of Rockdale Avenue and Grape Street.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Monday afternoon that the pilot of the aircraft was dead. He did not know the pilot’s age, hometown, or gender. A spokesman for New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said there were no other injuries in the crash.

There was no indication as to the cause of the crash Monday afternoon, said Knudson, who expected a preliminary report regarding the incident to be released within the next two weeks.


The crash, which involved a Cessna 150 that had taken off from New Bedford Regional Airport, occurred around 3:30 p.m., officials said. The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot was the only person aboard the plane at the time of the crash.

The FAA will probe the incident, and the NTSB will determine the probable cause, authorities said.

State Police detectives and troopers from the agency’s crime scene services section also responded.

Allan Duarte, a 67-year-old retiree who has lived on Rockdale Avenue for 25 years, said he was in his driveway when he heard the plane overhead. It did not sound like the plane was in trouble, he said.

“This thing was full-throttle, loud,” he said. Duarte estimated that his driveway was about a quarter-mile from the scene of the crash.

Duarte said he thought the plane was performing aerial maneuvers. It was turning and flying sideways, he said.

“It was like watching a kid who has stolen his father’s Corvette,” he said.

Duarte said he saw the plane go “straight up, and I thought it was going to do a swoop.”

“He was coming down so fast, I said, ‘There ain’t no way he’s coming out of that,’ ” he said.


Debris from the crash was scattered at the scene.
Debris from the crash was scattered at the scene.WCVB-TV

Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald @globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.