UPDATE: Plane crash victims identified
The three people killed in a Niagara-bound plane that crashed in rural, mountainous northwestern Pennsylvania have been identified.
According to the Associated Press, Pennsylvania State Police at Coudersport, near where wreckage of a small plane was found, have confirmed the identities of those involved as Corey Mijac, 18, Benjamin Jeffries, 19, and Rifat Tawfig, 25.
Mijac and Jeffries, both recent graduates of Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catharines, are from St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake respectively. Tawfig is from Niagara Falls.
Their plane was destined for Niagara District Airport Sunday after departing from Richmond, Va.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Federal Aviation Administration said it lost contact with the Canadian-registered Piper PA-28 Cherokee aircraft while it was over Potter County in Pennsylvania at about 7 p.m. Sunday.
“The FAA issued a notice (Sunday) to air traffic facilities, pilots and airports to alert them about the missing aircraft.”
The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation and is trying to determine what happened, the newspaper reported on its website.
A spokesman for Richmond International Airport told the Times-Dispatch the airport doesn’t have any information about the incident and that the airport doesn’t keep a travel log for small general aviation airplanes.
The FAA deferred to the Potter County Sheriff’s Office for information about the condition of the passengers of the aircraft or whether any survived. Calls to the Sheriff’s Office were not immediately returned Monday night.
According to WKBW, the McKeen County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that search teams found the aircraft in Potter County on Monday night.
The Buffalo TV station also reported that the plane had changed course en route to the Niagara-on-the-Lake airport to avoid a thunderstorm.