North Stonington — Neighbors said a single-engine plane plowed through 300 yards of a cornfield and spun around Wednesday evening after it crash-landed off Clarks Falls Road.
Neither the pilot of the Cessna 180, Andrew M. Sterns, nor his passenger, Jee Won Kim, appeared seriously injured. The two were walking around after the 7:17 p.m. crash and seemed slightly dazed but otherwise uninjured.
Sterns, 45, contacted air traffic controllers when the plane ran out of fuel and alarms started ringing in the cockpit, said Kim, 47, at the scene.
Sterns decided he wouldn't make it to Westerly, the closest airstrip, and chose to attempt to land in the cornfield instead, Kim said.
The plane had left Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was headed to the regional airport in New Bedford, Mass.
According to the plane's registration with the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane is based out of Anchorage, Alaska. No owner is listed, and it appears the plane has recently been sold.
Sterns was taken by North Stonington Ambulance to The Westerly Hospital as a precaution, and Kim accompanied him, according to North Stonington Fire Chief Charles Steinhart. Sterns was treated for a minor head injury and released from the hospital, state police said.
Rebecca Cleveland, who lives directly across from the field at 214 Clarks Falls Road, said she didn't realize the plane had crashed until she came outside and saw the tail of the plane sticking out in the field.
The plane had approached from the south and landed in the large field, avoiding three surrounding houses, Cleveland said. Its propeller caught in corn stalks, which spun the plane around, she said.
Steinhart said responding crews checked the plane for leaks and hazards and, finding none, secured the scene. The department was awaiting the FAA to arrive and conduct an investigation into the crash, Steinhart said. State police said the FAA will arrive around 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
"We'll stand by, await the OK and then it will be towed out of the field," Steinhart said.
Steinhart said a plane last crashed in town around three years ago, when a small plane went down near Route 201 at the Stonington town line. No one was seriously injured then either, he said.
North Stonington Ambulance, North Stonington Fire and state police responded to the crash.