FARMINGTON, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Authorities have released the names of two men killed in the crash of a small plane shortly after takeoff at a posh resort in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The Fayette County coroner’s office said Saturday that Terry Carlson, 68, and Jason Willems, 26, died in the crash. A spokesman said both men were from Maryland, but their hometowns hadn’t yet been confirmed. A third man injured in the crash was transported to UPMC Mercy’s trauma and burn center. He was able to get out of the plane on his own.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny Co. Health Dept. Reports 166 New Cases, 4 Additional Deaths
Authorities said the Beechcraft went down at about 2:15 p.m. Friday in a wooded area about a half-mile from the airfield at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Capital Edge Consulting, a Reston, Virginia-based firm that advises clients who have contracts with government agencies, said both victims were company employees. The company identified the third man in the plane as Erick Carlson and said he was critically injured.
“We are all devastated at the loss of these two Capital Edge family members,” CEO and managing director Chad Braley said in a statement.
Brian VanSickle, the Farmington VFD chief, was hunting in the woods nearby when he heard a loud noise, then he saw smoke fill the air.
“I did hear, it sounded like it did have an engine malfunction,” he said.
VanSickle was hunting with four of his fellow firefighters when he heard a loud noise.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
“I was within several hundred yards of this plane coming down while I was hunting, and it… I didn’t know what it was at first, but then when the woods filled with white smoke, and we could hear bystanders hollering, we just shifted from the hunting mode into the fire-and-rescue mode,” he said.
“Planes that come into Nemacolin, being that it’s a private runway, are familiar with it, and they come and go as they please,” VanSickle said.
Officials at Nemacolin released a statement Friday afternoon saying, “There is no public access to the crash site as fire and public safety officials continue their work. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this accident.”
Federal authorities said two witnesses to the crash have come forward and will be interviewed by an investigator who is at the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigator took an initial look Saturday at the aircraft and the engine, which will be moved to a secure location for a more detailed examination, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said Saturday. The investigator will also be looking at weather, maintenance records and the pilot’s records, he said.
The resort was built by 84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy, and includes a golf course, luxury hotel, casino and an airfield. It has a 3,800-foot runway, suitable for smaller planes, according to the resort’s website.
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