4th Day of Search for ‘Angel Flight’ Crash Victim

EPHRATAH, N.Y. (AP) -

Authorities say they have removed the main wreckage of a small plane from an upstate New York pond, but a brain cancer patient who was on the volunteer medical flight remains missing.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss says Tuesday the fuselage was pulled out of the water in Ephratah, an hour west of Albany. It will be taken for inspection along with debris found in the surrounding area.

Police and family members say Frank and Evelyn Amerosa of Utica, N.Y., were aboard the Angel Flight when the twin-engine craft went down Friday night. The bodies of the pilot, 70-year-old John Campbell of Stamford, Conn., and Evelyn Amerosa have been recovered.

A crane and divers worked to remove the wreckage of a small plane from a pond Tuesday as searchers used dogs to scour the area.

Rescue workers have been scouring woods and 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 and documents found as far as five miles away.

Campbell was a 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.

Weiss said that the fuselage as well as debris collected from surrounding woods and fields will be transported to a secure facility in Delaware to be examined by crash investigators.

The Piper PA 34 departed from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., and was headed to Rome, N.Y., before it crashed just after 5 p.m. Friday, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The plane did not issue a distress call before losing radar and radio contact, the NTSB said.

Weiss said a preliminary NTSB report on the accident will be issued in about two weeks, with a final report on the probable cause in about 18 months.