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Angel Flight plane crash kills at least 2; search on for pilot

May 25, 2013|By Michael Mello
  • Rescue workers move a tracked ATV that is towing a recovery sled to the site of an Angel Flight plane crash in Fulton County, N.Y.
Rescue workers move a tracked ATV that is towing a recovery sled to the site… (Peter R. Barber / Associated…)

Search and rescue crews focused on a pond and a wooded area of Fulton County in upstate New York on Saturday as they looked for a volunteer pilot missing in a small plane crash that killed two people being ferried for medical treatment.

Authorities found the plane’s two passengers near the crash site late Friday afternoon in a wooded area around Ephratah, about an hour west of Albany.

The twin-engine Piper PA-34 was on a mission for Angel Flight, a service in which pilots volunteer their time and planes to transport patients for medical treatment.

The flight left Bedford, Mass., headed for Rome, N.Y., on Friday afternoon.

Officials with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department have not identified the pilot or passengers.

Witnesses told sheriff’s deputies that the plane’s engine appeared to have problems before the crash, the Albany Times Union reported.

The crash left a debris field of about a square mile, with much of that submerged in a reservoir. Authorities dispatched divers to the reservoir on Saturday, believing that the pilot’s body may be underwater.

Larry Camerlin, president and founder of Angel Flight Northeast, said the organization was "tremendously saddened" by the crash.

“We all offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of those affected,” Camerlin said in a statement to the Associated Press. “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.”

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