Investigation continues into fatal plane crash

8:44 AM, Nov 18, 2012   |    comments
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OWLS HEAD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Investigators returned to the scene Saturday of a plane crash near Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head that left three people dead Friday evening. 

The University of Maine Saturday night identified the three victims in the plane crash as two current students and one alumnus.  The school says 22-year-old David Cheney, 24-year-old Marcelo Rugini, and 24-year-old William "B.J." Hannigan III all died in the crash.  All three were members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

Officials have confirmed that a pickup truck was crossing the runway when the plane took off from the airport around 4:45 p.m. Friday.  It appears that the Cessna 172 clipped the truck and crashed into the woods.

The plane continued to climb after striking the pickup truck, turned to the east, and spiraled downward into the woods and burst into flames.

The crash happened near the end of the runway at the airport.  The truck was authorized to be on airport grounds and was driven by a pilot.   

The Knox County Sheriff's Office has identified the driver of the pickup truck as 62-year-old Stephen Turner from Camden.  He is a licensed pilot who works out of the Knox County Regional Airport.  Turner had finished putting a plane away in a hanger across from the terminal just before the crash.  Officials say that's a routine practice that occurs daily.

A team of investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and Knox County Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation.

Police are waiting to release the names of all three victims until DNA results are confirmed, which won't be until later in the week.  The bodies have been taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Augusta.


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