Police Confirm Pilot Died In Plane Crash That Spawned Wildfire

News Release: September 4, 2023

The Lacey Township Police Department is confirming that one person has died in a small, private airplane crash that took place in the wooded area of Lacey Township, east of Robert J. Miller Airpark. The identity of the pilot has not been confirmed at this time.

The Lacey Township Police Department was notified of a smoke condition off of Dover Road and West Lacey Road shortly before midnight on Saturday September 2, 2023. Several fire agencies from our area initially responded to the scene, including the Manitou Park and Bamber Lake Fire Departments, as well as the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

As the investigation continued into the smoke condition, a small airplane crash was located in the area of the fire. Due to smoke and fire in the area, as well as the difficult terrain, authorities could not immediately access the scene of the airplane crash. The fire continued to spread, at which time the New Jersey Forrest Fire Service activated their personnel.

During the afternoon hours on Sunday, September 3, 2023, authorities were able to access the scene of the crash, where it was confirmed that the pilot of the airplane was deceased.

Operations related to the fire will continue in the wooded areas surrounding the Robert J. Miler Airpark for the next several days. Smoke conditions will remain in place for the next several days. The NJ Forest Fire Service does not expect the fire to grow any further in size and containment will continue to increase throughout the day. The fire is currently estimated at 70% contained. Please remain vigilant if traveling through the area. Any inquiries related to the status of the forest fire should be made directly to the NJ Forest Fire Service.

Due to the fire operations in the area, Dover Road and Mule Road remain closed from Lacey Road to Pinewald Keswick Road. The Robert J. Miller airpark also remains closed.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were immediately notified, and are currently investigating the crash. Any inquiries related to the status of the airplane crash investigation should be made directly to the FAA Eastern Region Public Affairs Office.

The Lacey Township Police Department would like to thank all of the agencies, local fire departments, and firs aid squads that responded to assist in investigating and managing this incident. A complete list of agencies that responded to the scene will be published at a later time.

Released by Captain Paul Sullivan Jr. #77
Lacey Township Police Department
Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator