LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. -- When Lt. Col Lawrence Mattiello saw a plane flip over at Sky Acres Airport Sunday afternoon , he knew he had to act fast.
After he saw the Cessna Skyhawk II ran off the east shoulder of Runway 17, Mattiello sprinted toward a pond where the plane had stalled and overturned, fearing the worst.
“I feared they were upside down in the water, but really didn't know what to expect when I got there," Mattiello said. But as I got to the plane I could see the wing was above the water and they were exiting on the wing on the other side.”
Mattiello jumped onto the wing close to land side and continued to talk to the victims in an attempt to keep them calm and assess their injuries.
Mattiello directed the occupants of the crashed plane over the belly of the aircraft where he was waiting to assist them to land. One person suffered minor injuries and was transported to MidHudson Regional Hospital.
After everyone was safely out of the plane Mattiello removed the remaining personal effects and secured the cockpit. First responders arrived on the scene and Mattiello, a pilot himself reviewed the cockpit with the fire-rescue team.
Mattiello said his training with the Civil Air Patrol, where he serves as a pilot and mission safety officer, enabled him to think fast.