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Midair Plane Crash Involving Young Eagles Over Buffalo New York

September 28, 2014 - On Saturday about 10:40 AM, two aircraft participating in the Young Eagles event collided midair about six miles east southeast of Buffalo Lancaster Regional Airport, New York.

Onboard the aircraft, a Cessna 172 (N9679H) and SeaRey (N89KD), a amateur built aircraft were a pilot and one child on each airplane. A witness reported the aircraft appeared to have clip each others wings. Weather conditions at the time was reported to be good conditions.

The Cessna 172 pilot, Anthony Mercurio, 78, and his passenger James Metz, 14, died in the plane crash. The SeaRey pilot, Kevin D'Angelo, 59, and his nine year old passenger were able to make a hard emergency landing in a grass field and walk away with only minor injuries.

D'Angelo siad "The only way to control it was to crash into trees and bushes. It was basically a forced crash, smashing into the trees as a brake." D'Angelo said after the crash he looked at his passenger "She was looking at me like, 'Was this a normal landing?' Not a tear in her eye. She was a trouper." Both D'Angelo and his passenger walked away from the airplane and were picked up by a person on an ATV.

The Young Eagles is a program that was developed to expose young people between the ages of 8 to 17 an opportunity to experience flight in a general aviation airplane, while educating children about aviation. The program was created by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

In a statement the EAA said about 60 youths had participated in this event. "We are saddened to report that there was a fatal accident involving a Young Eagles flight this morning at Buffalo-Lancaster Airport in Lancaster, N.Y. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been informed and immediately moved to investigate the accident.



"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the pilot and passenger involved in the mishap. What we can confirm thus far is this, at around 10:45 AM EDT, a Cessna 172 aircraft went down near that airport following contact with what the FAA has reported is a Searey aircraft. The incident occurred during a Young Eagles rally being held by EAA Chapter 46 (Buffalo, NY). The pilot and passenger aboard the Cessna aircraft were fatally injured in the accident. The other aircraft involved landed safety. The names of those involved have not yet been released, pending notification of relatives. We will continue to update as details are confirmed."
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