Mon, Jun 15, 2009
11-Year-Old Boy Among The Casualties
Authorities say three people are apparently dead after a 1969
Piper Cherokee crashed into the Mohawk River on takeoff from Mohawk
Valley Airport Sunday. According to various media reports,
witnesses say the airplane "bounded down the runway", struggled to
get into the air, then "lost power" before crashing 'tail-first'
into the river. Nearby fishermen tried to get the plane's door open
as it sank, and then marked the spot where it went down to assist
One of the apparent victims is real estate developer George
Kolath, who holds a student pilots license. The plane was
registered to "Kolath Airlines LLC".
Witnesses told the Albany, New York Times Union that they had
seen three people, two men and a boy, get into the airplane after
looking at photographs at the Hen House Restaurant at the airport.
They had talked about the great flying conditions. But the plane
had experienced difficulty landing at Mohawk Valley. Pilot Skip
Ryan, who was waiting to take off and saw the crash, told the paper
he had seen the plane miss two approaches before finally landing
earlier that day. "It didn't look good from the takeoff, but I
thought he would abort the start," he said. Another witness,
Matthew Siegmann, said the airplane "didn't have enough speed at
Authorities are withholding the names of the victims for now.
Rescue divers pulled the bodies of a 52-year-old man and an
11-year-old boy from the plane, which sank in 20-30 feet of water.
The third victim, thought to be Kolath, has yet to be recovered.
FAA and NTSB officials are expected to begin their investigations
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