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NY plane crash passengers ID'd as patient, wife

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm •  Published: May 26, 2013
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EPHRATAH, N.Y. (AP) — A brain cancer patient and his wife were on board the volunteer medical flight piloted by a Connecticut man that crashed in a wooded area of central New York, authorities said Sunday.

Frank and Evelyn Amerosa of Utica were aboard an Angel Flight on Friday night when the twin-engine aircraft went down in Ephratah, a sleepy town about an hour west of Albany, according to police and family members.

Officials and family said John Campbell, 70, of Stamford, Conn., was flying the couple back from the Boston area, where Frank Amerosa was being treated for brain cancer.

The bodies of Campbell and Evelyn Amerosa have been recovered from the rural crash site. Dozens of searchers, including a helicopter crew, continued searching the woods and water Sunday for Frank Amerosa, 64, who was presumed dead, said Sgt. Brian Van Nostrand of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department.

Frank Amerosa, a retired trucker, had been diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago. Evelyn Amerosa, 58, worked at an area nursing home directing residents in activities like bingo and trips — a job she loved, said her daughter Heather Theobald. She said her mother had been with her step-father for at least 16 years. The couple loved to travel and had recently returned from the Bahamas.

"Very happy, very much love, very optimistic, they did everything for anybody," Theobald told The Associated Press. "They were just very good people. They were loved by a lot of people."

Campbell was volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, a nonprofit group that arranges free air transportation for the sick. Angel Flight Northeast said it has set up free air transportation and medical care for more than 65,000 children and adults on about 60,000 flights covering more than 12 million miles. It was founded in 1996.

"John loved to fly and truly believed in the mission of Angel Flight. He loved volunteering his time and we take some solace in the fact he died doing something he loved while trying to help others," according to a family statement read to The Associated Press by his daughter Kimberly Conti, of Rutherford, N.J.

Rescue workers on Sunday scoured the woods and searched a big, murky pond where the bulk of the aircraft was submerged. Wreckage from the crash was dispersed over a large area, with pieces of the plane found as far as 5 miles away.

Town Supervisor Todd Bradt said more than 100 rescuers searched for Frank Amerosa into Sunday night but did not find him. The search will continue Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators who returned to the crash site Sunday aim to retrieve the bulk of the wreckage from the water over the next few days, said agency spokesman Eric Weiss. They are looking for smartphones, GPS devices, computer tablets or other items that could "give the investigators some electronic evidence of what happened in the last minutes of flight," he said.

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