North Collins Plane Crash Investigation: Facts On Two Friends Who Collided Mid-Air In Erie County
Two private planes crashed midair on 25th September after they pulled out of the Hamburg Airport killing three people. There were no survivors.Advertisement
Six pilots took off on their respective planes for St. Marys, Pa on Sunday all part of what was known as the Sunday Breakfast Club, but none of the planes made it to their destination.
After the first and second planes, belonging to Paul Rosiek and Richard Walker respectively, collided above School Street in North Collins, all the other planes were radioed from the Hamburg Airport control room to head back.
As Bill Drew, the pilot of the fifth planes reiterated to Buffalo News, all the six planes used the same radio frequency to communicate with each other at all times during their flight.
For some unknown reason communication with the first two planes seemed to be missing that day. Even though initially Drew did not think much of it, “by the time I got up, and heard no reply from them … I suspect it had already happened.”
North Collins farmer, Mike Stefan, was the first one to witness the plane crash as it happened a short distance from his farm at School Street and Jennings Road.
According to the witness statement, given by Stefan, the second plane, piloted by Walker, had lost sight of the first plane, which was being piloted by Rosiek and “he lifted up to see where his friend was.”
In what can only be described as an extremely haunting sight, Stefan then went on to add: “They were so high up in the air that they looked like they were crawling. It literally took 20 to 30 seconds for them to hit the ground.”
Preliminary reports on the crash will be filed within the next 10 days, reports AP. Meanwhile, the entire investigation is estimated to take place within a year.
Robert J. Gretz, senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said that all the victims will be autopsied and tested for toxicology.
Then the wreckages on both the planes will be carefully evaluated matched against the witness reports. Wind and Radar date will also be taken into consideration.
He was the first one to take off the airport in his plane, Cessna 120. Paul Rosiek was 60 years old and owned a plumbing company.
Drew and Rosiek used to enjoy target shooting at the Boston Valley Conservation Club.
Richard Walker and his wife Kathleen Walker, both 69 years old and lived in Eden. Richard was piloting the second plane, a Piper Cherokee, with his wife by his side.
Richard used to work at a local publishing company and was enjoying a life of retirement, while his wife was a retired North Collins kindergarten teacher.
He was Drew’s best friend and someone who inspired Drew to take up flying as a passion. Hamburg airport was where Rosiek, Walker, and Drew had learnt to fly about 18 years ago
Prayers And Condolences
An outpour of prayers and condolences has been shown towards both the families of the victims on social media.
Loriann Kostusiak, one of the former neighbors of Paul Rosiek wrote on Facebook: “My thoughts and prayers go to Paul Rosiek and his family on this sad day of his passing. The Rosiek family were our next door neighbors and friends of our family when I was a little girl on Parker Rd in Hamburg.”
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Similar sentiments were reflected by Chris Schultz, one of the former classmates of Rosiek: “Sadly we lost another classmate today ,St Bernadette classmate since kindergarten Paul Rosiek .Airplane accident out of hamburg .Paul was married to Mary Beth Fors our HS classmate .All thoughts to Mary Beth and family.”
Jim Cavanaugh, a common friend of both Rosiek and Walker wrote:
“Finding it very hard to get focused today thinking about my three friends killed in a mid air collision yesterday in North Collins,NY. Truly wonderful people.
On Monday morning, officials identified the victims as Richard Walker, 69, Kathleen Walker, 69, and Paul Rosiek, 60.
Paul and Rich were both experienced pilots that loved flying. I attended aircraft maintenance school with both for many years. I will miss both being part of my life.”
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