UMaine: 3 plane crash victims were frat brothers

Associated Press Modified: November 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm •  Published: November 17, 2012
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Hannigan, who graduated from the university in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, was piloting the plane and had been working on his flight hours, Dana said.

Cheney was a business major. Rugini, who lived in Nobleboro and was from Muliterno, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, was an economics major.

Lambda Chi Alpha has been in touch with the victims' families and has been keeping the university informed, Dana said.

Fraternity members gathered in solidarity at their campus house Saturday night, and a police officer was stationed outside to keep away the media, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The pickup truck that was struck by the plane was allowed to be at the airport and was driven by a pilot who was picking up another pilot who had parked a plane in a hangar, Carroll said. The truck driver wasn't hurt.

All trucks at the airport are equipped with radios to pick up any traffic from planes, airport manager Jeff Northgraves said. He said planes are required to radio their positions before, during and after takeoff. He said it wasn't known yet whether the plane that crashed had radioed its actions.

The collision sent flames 10 to 20 feet in the air and smoke billowing into the sky. The first people to the scene tried unsuccessfully to pull one of the occupants from the burning wreckage, said John Newcomb, president of the Downeast Air airline services company, who was among those who tried to help.

The area is so rough that a helicopter will be needed to remove the four-seat plane, the same way the bodies were removed, Northgraves said.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board planned to begin investigating the crash Saturday.