On Saturday, September 27, a Young Eagles event in Lancaster, New York went from sunshine to tragedy as a crash between two planes left two people dead, including a 14-year-old child. Two others were injured in the crash.
This weekend, Buffalo-Lancaster Airport was the scene of an EAA Young Eagle Rally, an event that the Experimental Aircraft Association has supported since 1992. The Young Eagles place young pilot-hopefuls from the ages of 8 to 17 with volunteer pilots who spend time with them on the ground and in the air. Nearly two million children have taken about one million flights with the 45,000 pilots who offer their time and aircraft to the cause.
This weekend, a Cessna 172 and an experimental SeaRey experienced a midair collision around 10:40 a.m. The Cessna was badly damaged and crashed, killing both onboard. Authorities later identified the victims as 78-year-old Anthony Mercurio and James Metz, 14.
The pilot of the SeaRay, 59-year-old Kevin D’Angelo, reported that his plane was severely damaged in the collision. He was forced to crash land into trees and brush to act as a brake, slowing the crash. Both he and his 9-year-old passenger (who remains unidentified) walked away with minor injuries.
Prior to Saturday, there has only been one fatal accident with the Young Eagles in over 22 years of events. A 2005 crash involving a Piper Cherokee in Everett, Washington killed all three occupants.
The Phoenix aviation accident lawyers at Curry, Pearson & Wooten extend their deepest sympathy to the Metz and Mercurio families as they cope with their losses after this tragic accident.