NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A New Bedford man was killed in a small plane crash near the Rural Cemetery on Monday afternoon.
The pilot has been identified as 74-year-old Paul Vidal, an experienced pilot, according to his wife, Carol Ann Vidal.
The crash happened at around 3 p.m. on Monday on Rockdale Avenue at Grape Street, about four miles away from the New Bedford airport., where Vidal plane took off from.
According to the FAA, the plane, a Cessna 150, crashed shortly after departing from the airport. Vidal was the pilot and sole occupant of the plane at the time of the crash.
"He had to have a plane, he got it," said Carol Ann. "He got his license I think in the 1990s."
The cemetery was opened in 1837 and stretches for about 100 acres.
"I heard on the news that he crashed in the graveyard to avoid houses, and I remember him saying that he would do that if he had come down to [avoid] hurting anybody," said Carol Ann.
Witnesses said they saw the plane flying low, and they ran to the scene of the crash hoping they could help.
"The guy was doing acrobatic moves, he lost control and he hit," said Jose Abreu.
Vidal was a retired professor at Rhode Island Community College and had been married to Carol Ann for 48 years.
"We had a good life, we traveled...now I have to pick up the pieces, now he's not coming home," said Carol Ann.
Vidal leaves behind his lifelong partner and one son, who was on his way over to be with his mother following the crash.
State Police units assisted in the response as well. The NTSB is currently investigating the crash.
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