Small Plane Crashes In Northeast

Posted: March 08, 1996

A small, single-engine plane crashed last night onto the roof of a parked Pontiac Sundance in the 1400 block of Levick Street in the Northeast's Oxford Circle section.

The only person in the Beechcraft was the pilot, Robert Schmelzer, 48, of Ramsey, N.J., who was rescued from the craft and taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition with head trauma and nose and eye injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mark Pesce, a spokesman for Philadelphia International Airport, said the crash occurred about 6:35 p.m. on a densely populated, rowhouse block. The pilot had declared an emergency after losing altitude, the airport spokesman said.

The crash took place about three miles from Northeast Philadelphia Airport, which had made preparations for a possible crash landing.

Moments before the crash, the plane nose-dived, then hit the roof of a rowhouse on Levick Street and bounced onto the car below, an investigator at the scene said.

An investigator said the pilot was en route from Maryland to Teterboro, in Bergen County.

The crash brought hundreds of nearby residents out of their homes on a rainy night.

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