Two dead in Fulton County plane crash
CAROGA Two people are believed dead and a third person missing after a small plane crashed Friday in a wooded area near routes 10 and 29 in northwestern Fulton County.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Piper PA 34 crashed about 5:10 p.m. in a field across from Royal Mountain Campsites near the hamlet of Rockwood.
The FAA said the plane was en route from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., to Oneida County Airport in Rome.
Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said most of the aircraft was submerged in a large pond in a wooded area. He said the investigation will continue this morning, when divers can enter the water.
Lorey said the plane was affiliated with Angel Flight, a nonprofit group that facilitates volunteer pilots to transport sick patients.
Larry Camerlin, president and founder of Angel Flight Northeast, a nonprofit group that arranges free air transportation for sick patients from volunteer pilots, said the organization was “tremendously saddened” by the tragic news of the crash.
“We all offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of those affected,” Camerlin said in a statement. “Our volunteer pilots are the most compassionate and generous individuals who donate their time, aircraft and fuel to transport patients and loved ones for free to essential medical care that would otherwise not be readily available to them. There are no words that can adequately express our sorrow.”
Witnesses said the plane appeared to lose an engine before crashing and exploded on impact.
“I knew that he was in trouble,” said Charles Berry, who was cutting wood outside his home when he saw the plane circle twice. “I heard a big explosion, then I looked up in the sky and there were pieces flying all over. Then, all of a sudden, I heard an explosion where it was impacting the ground.”
Two bodies were recovered, according to emergency radio transmissions. The identities of the passengers were not being released Friday night.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board also will investigate the crash.