Good Samaritan dragged 21-year-old plane crash survivor away from the fiery scene, witness says

David Tomanelli's father, Dr. Joseph Tomanelli, 56, died in the crash.

ByABC News
April 25, 2017, 7:27 PM

— -- A 21-year-old survivor of a small plane that crashed in Connecticut Monday was dragged away from the fiery scene by a Good Samaritan, according to a witness.

Meriden resident Dan Mercurio was on the scene in Wallingford when he saw several Good Samaritans run toward the wreckage, ABC New Haven affiliate WTNH reported.

Mercurio told WTNH that Daniel Tomanelli, who authorities said was seriously injured in the crash, survived due to a driver who stopped to help, pulling him away from the plane.

“He was bleeding from the head. It looked like his leg was broken--it was turned on the side," Mercurio said. "He was conscious and talking and obviously concerned for his father."

Mercurio's father, 56-year-old Joseph Tomanelli, was found dead on the scene, the Wallingford Police Department said in a press conference Tuesday morning. He was a well-known doctor in the area, WNTH reported.

One of the occupants of the plane is listed by the Federal Aviation Administration as being a licensed pilot, the NTSB said. It is unclear who was piloting the plane, police said.

After interviewing witnesses, the NTSB determined that the father and son were practicing touch-and-go landings when the accident occurred, the agency said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 call around 6:28 p.m. Monday detailing thick smoke in the area near the Meriden-Markham Municipal Airport, according to police.

Witnesses said that when they saw the plane touch down on the runway, it "appeared to be moving faster than normal" before it bounced twice on the runway and took off again. The plane then "went around the traffic pattern" and "came around again for a second set of landings," according to the NTSB.

During the second set, the aircraft touched down again, this time not as fast, and the aircraft "flared," which means it assumed a landing altitude about 10 to 15 feet above the pavement of the landing.

The aircraft appeared to drop before it bounced twice before it became airborne again and rolled to the left. It then impacted on the ground at about a 90-degree angle and crashed into the airport's security perimeter fence before sliding about 130 feet before coming to a rest on the roadway of Hanover Street.

After the plane came to rest, it caught fire, according to the NTSB.

David Tomanelli was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital with non-life threatening injuries that included at least a broken femur, police said.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the incident, including whether the physiology of either of the occupants, weather or the condition of the plane contributed to the crash.

In a statement to WNTH, the medical office where Joseph Tomanelli practiced, the Hartford Healthcare Group in Wallingford, said it was "shocked and saddened" to learn of the doctor's death.

"MidState Medical Center, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group and all of us at Hartford HealthCare offer our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Joseph Tomanelli, his family, friends, colleagues and patients," the statement reads. "We are incredibly shocked and saddened to learn of this tragedy – Dr. Tomanelli was a well-known and esteemed primary care physician in our community for years and will be tremendously missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who knew him."

ABC News' Devin Villacis contributed to this report.