CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating a crash in a Burlingame State Park pond involving a seaplane owned by a company tied to other recent emergency landings and crashes.
The most recent investigation involves a seaplane that flipped over after it went down in Watchaug Pond just after 5 p.m. Saturday.
Investigators said the pilot may not have raised the landing gear after taking off from Westerly, and possibly snagged the water with the wheels and flipped the plane onto its wings.
Neither the pilot, Bryan Hassett, 26, nor his passenger, the 16-year-old son of the plane’s owner, was injured.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the plane is registered to Mark Simmons of Connecticut, who owns Simmons Aviation Services.
About a month ago, a plane towing an advertising banner for Simmons Aviation made an emergency landing in a South Kingstown front yard.
A review of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) records indicates Simmons’ company has been involved in four of the last 14 NTSB investigations in Rhode Island, not including Saturday’s crash.
As Target 12 reported, Jeremiah Colohan, who ditched a Cessna off Bonnett Shores while flying an advertising banner for Simmons on the Fourth of July 2016, lacked the required pilot license medical certification, according to FAA records.
Simmons was the pilot of Piper A-25 that was towing a banner with the message ‘Michelle, will you marry me?’ on July 23, 2012, when engine problems forced an emergency landing in the waters off Westerly.
Another NTSB report names Simmons Aviation as the owner of a Piper Pawnee that made an emergency landing on a Westerly lawn on the Fourth of July 2009 while towing a banner.
In June 2020, Simmons was also at the controls of a 1981 Skyhawk that landed on a fairway of a Haworth, New Jersey country club after the aircraft lost power.
According to an FAA incident report, Simmons controlled the plane to avoid a golfer before the emergency landing.
Simmons said, “Sorry. I can’t comment,” when reached by telephone Monday.
According to the DEM, there are no indications Simmons’ seaplane leaked fuel or oil into the water.