An Angel Flight that took off from Hanscom Field in Bedford crashed in New York on Friday night, killing at least two of the three people on board, according to authorities.
The Piper PA 34 aircraft was 60 miles from its Rome, N.Y., destination when it went down near Garoga, N.Y., at 5:10 p.m., said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The bodies of one male and one female were recovered from the scene of the crash, according to Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey. Authorities believe the body of the third person was inside the aircraft, which was submerged in the Garoga reservoir, and a search will be conducted during the daylight on Saturday, he said.
Authorities did not identify the victims Friday night.
Joan Dudley, the owner of Granny’s Ice Cream Shanty, located near the crash site, said she saw the small plane go down.
“It came down right in front of our store,” Dudley said. “We could hear the noise, the roar of the engine. … I looked up and saw the plane turning, it already lost one wing and it just dropped right out of the sky.”
Dudley said police and firefighters were “here by the dozens” soon afterward, and she later saw rescuers pull what appeared to be the body of one of the victims from the wreckage.
She added that a small group of stunned customers standing in line outside the store also witnessed the crash.
“Everybody was, like, holy cow,” Dudley said. “We just couldn’t believe what we were seeing. … Awful.”
Dudley also owns a nearby campground and said campers were frightened after the plane went down.
“Thank God it didn’t come down in the campsite,” she said. “They all came running once they heard the crash.”
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.
Angel Flight Northeast, a group that provides free air travel for patients seeking medical care, confirmed in a statement that the passengers and pilot were traveling on one of its flights, and that a flight had taken off from Bedford. The group released no other information about the victims.
“Angel Flight NE staff and volunteers are tremendously saddened by this tragedy and we all offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of those affected,” said Larry Camerlin, the group’s founder and president, in the 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.”
A US Air Force spokeswoman at Hanscom had no comment on the incident.
In 2008, a cancer patient, his wife, and their pilot were killed when a single-engine airplane operated by Angel Flight New England crashed in an Easton parking lot. The plane was on its way from a Long Island, N.Y., airport to Logan International Airport in Boston.
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