Ex-Newburyport mayor killed when plane crashes into Methuen apartment building

METHUEN, MA (WHDH) - A home-built aircraft crashed into an apartment building in Methuen Tuesday afternoon, killing the pilot, Massachusetts State Police said.

Emergency crews responded around 1:15 p.m. to the Prides Crossing Condominiums on  Riverview Boulevard near Lawrence Municipal Airport.

Video from Sky7 above the scene showed a plane that crashed through the roof of the building. Officials said it landed in apartment seven on the building’s upper floor.

The pilot has been identified as Alan Lavender, a former mayor in Newburyport. He was the sole occupant in the plane.

The building was said to be empty when the plane crashed. No other injuries were reported.


Lavender did not make an emergency call before crashing. Officials said he was flying an experimental, home-built aircraft.

The crash sparked a fire, but a major blaze was avoided because the apartment’s sprinkler system went off, Methuen’s Mayor Stephen Zanni said. It’s also believed the plane could have been running low on fuel.

Lavender was making test runs with the plane, when officials said it suddenly nosedived into the building.

Multiple crashes involving other planes have occurred at the building in the past, officials said.

The accident is under investigation. Residents will not be allowed back inside until the investigation is complete.

This is a breaking news story. Stay with us as more details emerge.

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