LAKE PLACID - Trails accessing the southern portion of the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness will be closed on Saturday to allow for safe removal of plane wreckage, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Tuesday.
The plane crashed on a knob near Big Burn Mountain on Thursday, Feb. 21, after a failed attempt to land at the Lake Placid Airport, during which its crew couldn't get the runway lights to turn on, according to pilot Frank Dombroski.
The plane crash site is roughly a mile from Whiteface Inn Road, west of Lake Placid.
The wreckage of this Vans RV-10 plane, seen here on Feb. 22 near Big Burn Mountain, will be removed from the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Saturday.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
Fifty-four-year-old Michael Oster, 58-year-old Jeff O'Connor and 51-year-old Dombroski, all from Westfield, N.J., survived the crash without any serious injuries. They were rescued by forest rangers early the next morning.
A section of the Jackrabbit Trail between Whiteface Inn Road in Lake Placid and the McKenzie Pond Road near Saranac Lake will be closed. The Haystack Mountain Trail on state Route 86 in Ray Brook will also be closed.
Those who plan to ski the Jackrabbit Trail are encouraged to use other sections of the trail or the nearby Moose Pond Trail off state Route 3 northeast of Saranac Lake.
Forest rangers and environmental conservation officers will be stationed at the trailheads for these trails during the closure.
A helicopter will be used to lift the plane wreckage off the mountain and set it down at a nearby location.
Due to the extent of the damage, pieces of the plane could fall off while the plane is being removed, necessitating the trail closures.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.