PITTSFIELD — Two men were injured when a plane belonging to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations experienced engine trouble and crashed Wednesday night in Burnham while trying to land at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, officials said.

The plane is a single-engine Cessna 206. The two crew members on board were from the agency’s Air and Marine Operations organization, according to Stephanie Malin, branch chief for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs northern/coastal region.

Malin said the plane was conducting “border security operations” when it experienced a suspected engine failure. She said she could not give further details.

The crew, whose names were not released, were forced to make an emergency off-field landing near the airport. 

Both were injured in the crash but were able to walk away from the wreckage, Malin said. 

One of the men called 911 and gave information on the location of the crash, which was in a wooded area along the Sebasticook River in Burnham, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.


The crew members were taken to Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, where one was treated and released. The other was taken to Boston for treatment of more serious injuries, McCausland said.

The Federal Aviation Administration will conduct a crash investigation.

Air and Marine Operations is one of three main branches of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with the other two being the Office of Field Operations and U.S. Border Patrol. 

The general purpose of Air and Marine Operations is to help with border security and sometimes with search-and-rescue missions, Malin said.

In 2017, Air and Marine Operations enforcement actions resulted in the seizure or disruption of about 269,790 pounds of cocaine, 384,230 pounds of marijuana, 5,721 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,089 weapons and $26.1 million in cash; 2,573 arrests; and 37,009 apprehensions of illegal aliens, according to the agency’s website. 


The twisted fuselage of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection airplane lies near the Sebasticook River in Burnham near the Pittsfield Municipal Airport on Thursday. The plane with two on board crashed shortly before midnight Wednesday, injuring the two occupants. (David Leaming/Morning Sentinel)

Burnham Fire Chief Charlie King speaks with two game wardens who arrived Thursday in a boat at a staging area on the Sebasticook River along Peltoma Avenue in Pittsfield near the scene of a plane crash. In the background are vehicles from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s hazmat team. (Staff Photo by David Leaming/Staff Photographer)

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