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FAA: At least 2 dead in small plane crash in N.Y.

Monday, June 15, 2009

SCOTIA, N.Y. -- A small plane plunged into the Mohawk River in eastern New York with three people aboard Sunday, and at least two were found dead after the aircraft sank in 30 feet of water, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

The Piper Cherokee went down near Scotia around 2:30 p.m., shortly after taking off from the nearby Mohawk Valley Airport, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. Scotia is about 20 miles northwest of Albany.

The third person's condition wasn't immediately known. Peters said divers were still searching early Sunday evening to see whether anyone else was aboard.

A skydiving instructor at Mohawk Valley Airport told the Times Union of Albany he and others who were in the small airstrip's restaurant heard the crash, ran down the airstrip and jumped into the river to help a fisherman drop an anchor to help rescuers find the downed plane.

"There's nothing we wanted to do more than get into that plane," said Michael McGuire.

The aircraft was registered to Kolath Airlines LLC of Bear, Del., Peters said. A woman who identified herself as Kolath's registered agent said she didn't know about the crash and had been unable to contact anyone with the company.

FAA records show the plane, a PA-28R-180 model, was manufactured in 1969. The model is part of the Piper Cherokee family of small planes, made by Vero Beach, Fla.-based Piper Aircraft Inc.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Kolath is a commercial venture or a corporate name for an owner's personal aircraft.

The telephone rang unanswered Sunday evening at the airport. State police, who were leading the emergency response, had no immediate information.


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