8 December 1982
Three area men recovering after airport airplane crash
by Barbara Perone
MONTGOMERY — A popular radio talk show host was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday morning at Princeton Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman. The host was injured, along with two passenger«, when the single-engine airplane he was piloting crashed at Princeton Airport late Sunday afternoon.
The pilot. Bruce H. Williams. 50. of Franklin Park, after returning from Monmouth County Airport at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, twice tried to land his 1964 Cessna 182 single-engine plane at the airport, according to a Montgomery Township police official.
The plane was on its second approach to land, having aborted the First attempt, when the pilot apparently again decided to abort the landing and tried to pull up and take off again after bouncing on the runway, police said.
Apparently Mr. Williams’ plane was not able to gain sufficient speed and altitude before striking several trees, nearly shearing off the wings of the aircraft, causing a nose-first crash landing into a soggy marsh in the western portion of the airport, a quarter-mile beyond the runway, police said.
The aircraft was a total loss but police had no cost estimate on the plane’s value.
Police noted the victims had to come out through the shattered windshield and that the wet conditions may have played a role in preventing a Fire.
Rescue squads, according to police, were dispatched from Montgomery, Rocky Hill and Princeton to transport Mr. Williams and the two other victims. Ralph Blasingame, 52, of East Brunswick and Jay Panter, 51, of Edison, to the medical center, where both were reported to be in satisfactory condition by a hospital spokesperson. The Montgomery Fire Co. No. 1 and the Rocky Hill Fire Co. were also called to the scene, police said.
Mr. Williams underwent surgery at the hospital late Sunday for internal bleeding from severe lacerations of his small intestine and was given a blood transfusion, according to Maurice Tunick, executive producer of the call-in show which Mr. Williams hosts on the National Broadcasting Co.’s (NBC’s) “Talknet.” a syndicated package of programs.
“His vital signs are good and he is very lucid.’’ said the NBC official, who is a Plainsboro resident. Mr. Tunick noted that the host also suffered a
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splintered knee cap which may also require surgery .
Mr. Williams was a Franklin Township councilman who was elected in 1967 and was also elected mayor of the township from 1968-69. according to a Franklin- Township official. He was re-elected and served as a councilman from 1971-75. the official said.
Mr. Williams, who has five children, lives in Franklin Township with his wife. Ruthann.
The Talknct program went on the air in November 1981, according to Mr. Tunick. and is broadcast in 23 states. Mr. Williams formerly was employed by radio stations in New York and New Brunswick.
The NBC official said that the New York company “has received hundreds of inquiries ” concerning Mr. Williams condition following the accident. On Monday night a prerecorded show done by Mr William was aired during his regularly scheduled program, along with updated reports on the host’s condition.
Mr. Tunick said Mr. Williams has been a pilot for a number of years. He said it was not known when Mr. Williams would return to work.
“Bruce is generally a caring person and through his show he helps people make all sorts of decisions.” Mr. Tunick said. He noted that the host is “an entrepreneur” who owns a few businesses in New Jersey.
According Emanuel Snoy of Princeton. who witnessed the crash while flying 1,200 feet above the Williams plane in his own Piper Cherokee. “I heard on the radio that the plane was landing,” noting that he was on the opposite side of the field paralleling the runway.
“I looked down the runway and saw the plane hit the trees.” he said He speculated that the plane had probably stalled because “it was too low.” but he noted. “I don’t know if he (the pilot) was having any engine trouble.”
Mr. Snoy, who has had a private pilot’s license since April 1979, added, “It is more difficult to land a plane than to take off.”
He called (he airport tower to notify officials of the crash, but was told that they had already been aware of the accident He said that he went to the scene to help the crash victims alter he landed.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation into the cause of the crash is at a standstill, according to Peter Brunsky ol the FAA branch in Allentown, Pa.
The weather, which he said was “clear and calm” played “no factor whatsoever” in the accident.
A report of the incident will be made by the Allentown office, and will be made available to the public before a copy is sent to the National Safety Transportation Board in Washington. D.C.. to be reviewed by a five-member board that will publish the cause of the accident in Washington, according to Vern Taylor, a chief of the NSTB in New York.