NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The pilot of a plane that crashed into a New Bedford cemetery Monday afternoon has died, according to Mayor Jon Mitchell.
The plane – a Cessna 150 – plummeted nose-first into Rural Cemetery on Dartmouth Avenue around 3 p.m.
It crashed soon after taking off from New Bedford Regional Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The pilot, identified by family as Paul Vidal, was the only person on board the plane when it crashed.
Vidal’s wife, Carol Ann Vidal, said she is heartbroken by the loss of her husband, who she was married to for 48 years.
“He was the love of my life,” Carol Ann said. “We had a good life, now it’s over and you have to pick up the pieces and it’s hard… He’s not coming home.”
Vidal, 74, has been a licensed pilot since 2001, according to the FAA.
Carol Ann Vidal said her husband loved flying and had always told her what he would do if there was an emergency.
“I remember him saying that he would always do that – if he had to come down, to not hurt anybody. He was a good pilot,” she said.
Verna Kendall said she heard the crash from inside the kitchen of her home on Weaver Street.
“This is an awful thing too close to home. If it had been closer it would have hit a house,” she said.
“It’s a mangled mess to tell you the truth,” her husband James Kendall added.
According to Flightradar24.com, the plane briefly flew over Rhode Island before looping around and crashing in New Bedford.
New Bedford Regional Airport serves New Bedford and the entire Southcoast region of Massachusetts. Rural Cemetery opened in 1837 and compromises of 100 acres of burial grounds.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The New Bedford Police Department tells Eyewitness News more information will be provided Tuesday morning.