EPHRATAH, N.Y. - Search teams headed home after hours of scouring fields and a pond where a plane that crashed remained Saturday night. Still no sign of the third victim, and no details about how it happened.
"You know it's a hard thing that you know everybody's going through with this," said Fire Chief Mark Souza, with the Rockwood Garoga Lassellsville Fire Department.
Chief Souza gathered his crews for a final debrief after a long day of searching for the third victim of a two engine plane that crashed in a pond in Garoga Friday night. First responders located the pilot, a man from Connecticut and a passenger from Utica dead in a nearby field. Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey says the third victim who was about to be married to the other passenger according to authorities and also from Utica is still missing but presumed to be dead.
"The divers have been in the water all day. The State Troopers and St.Johnsville has been around helping them assisting them," said Souza.
Shortly after 5 p.m. the water search was called off and then the field search ended too.
"We probably have at least 40 or 50 searchers out with the Rangers," said Souza.
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board says the Piper PA 34 plane was in contact with air traffic control out of Albany prior to the crash. According to the FAA the plane took off from Bedford Massachusetts, heading for Rome, New York. The trip was part of the Angel Flight Northeast Organization that offers free flights to those who need medical care. The pilot was a volunteer and one of the passengers most likely was being treated for an illness.
"We'll be looking at the pilot, his qualifications his history. The airplane it's maintenance history and also the environment the weather," said Allison Diaz with the National Transportation Safety Board.
The investigation will be lengthy and it could be nearly a year or more until any answers for the tragedy come to light.
"The factual report will take about 9 to twelve months and after that the probable cause will be issued about 60 days after," said Diaz.
Crews will continue the search Sunday morning. Officials have yet to release the names of the pilot or the two passengers.
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