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Minor injuries reported after plane catches fire in Georgetown

January 29, 2017

Story Location:
21553 Rudder Lane
Georgetown  Delaware
United States

A Maryland pilot was injured Jan. 28 when an aircraft caught fire shortly after taking off from Sussex County Airport in Georgetown.

Donald Byrne, 59 of Lusby, Md., had just taken off in a single-engine plane from the airport shortly after 2 p.m., and was reaching 1,400 feet when the plane's cockpit began to fill with smoke, said Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale.

Byrne flew back to the airport and just before he landed, fire became visible in the cockpit. Once he landed, he jumped from the plane while it was still moving. The plane came to a rest in a grassy area a short distance away, where it then became fully engulfed in flames, Hale said.

Byrne was taken to Beebe Healthcare and treated for nonlife-threatening injuries.

An investigation by the Delaware State Police and the Federal Aviation Administration is ongoing. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, Hale said.