Report: Fatal flight changed course just before Fulton County crash
EPHRATAH The small twin-engine plane that crashed last month in Fulton County, killing three people, changed direction less than two minutes before it broke apart in midair, according to a preliminary NTSB report released this week.
The report from the National Transportation Safety Board does not give a cause for the May 24 breakup over Garoga Reservoir. That is not expected for at least a year.
But the report does give more details into the flight itself, and what became of the plane. The information is laid out in the report without putting any special significance on any one detail.
According to the report, preliminary Federal Aviation Administration radar data placed the Piper PA 34 plane heading northwest near Ephratah in southwest Fulton County before 5:08 p.m. The plane was heading from Bedford, Mass., to Rome, N.Y.
At 5:08 p.m. “the airplane altered its course to the north-northeast,” the preliminary report reads. “The plane continued on this track for approximately one minute before beginning a descending left turn towards the south.”
The last recorded radar return for the plane came in at 5:09:19.
By then, the plane was about 1,500 feet northwest of the eventual accident site in the town of Ephratah, at an altitude of 6,700 feet, the report reads. The flight’s planned cruising altitude during the flight was 8,000 feet.
The path of the wreckage measured about a mile, according to the report, beginning on the southeast side of the Garoga Reservoir and continuing to the north end of the reservoir.
The left side of the horizontal stabilator, along with the vertical stabilizer and rudder, sections of the left wing and portions of the fuselage skin were found south of the reservoir, the report reads.
The main wreckage, the report continues, including most of the fuselage and cabin area, right wing and engine, fell into the reservoir. The left engine was found on the north side of the reservoir.
The main wreckage was recovered from the reservoir May 28 and taken to a secure facility for further examination.
Killed in the crash were pilot John Campbell, 70, of Stamford, Conn., and Evelyn and Frank Amerosa of Utica.
The bodies of Campbell and Evelyn Amerosa were recovered shortly after the crash. Frank Amerosa was not been found despite intensive searches, but he is presumed dead.
In the days after the incident, more than 100 volunteers from the Rockwood-Garoga-Lassellsville Fire Company and nearly a dozen other agencies combed the area. Searchers went so far as to drain the Garoga Reservoir itself.
Campbell was piloting the Amerosas from Boston back home to Rome on a medical flight set up by the nonprofit organization Angel Flight. Frank, 64, and his wife Evelyn, 58, were in Boston for Frank’s brain cancer treatment.