Cancer Patient Dies in Plane Crash After Doctor Visit

Cause still unknown as officials search for body of pilot

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2013 12:03 PM CDT | Updated May 26, 2013 3:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – A twin-engine plane that went down in Upstate New York on Friday was an Angel Flight carrying a veteran who was fighting cancer, his wife, and the volunteer pilot returning them from a medical appointment in Boston, reports the AP. The patient and his wife—who haven't yet been named—died in the crash, and officials are still searching near the town of Ephratah today for the body of the pilot. The couple seemed happy, says the pilot who flew them up to Boston. "We were both former Marines and had been in Vietnam pretty close together in time," he said. "We hit it right off. He was a nice guy."

NTSB investigators are looking for phones or other electronics that could "give the investigators some electronic evidence of what happened in the last minutes of flight," says a spokesman. Wreckage was scattered over a 5-mile area, and most of the plane landed in a pond. There was no distress call, though witnesses said the aircraft was clearly in trouble. "We looked up and saw the plane flipping in the air. Then it fell apart," says one. "Parts and pieces of it were flying through the sky, and a body fell out."

Emergency vehicles sit parked along the road in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, as the search for the pilot of a downed Angel Flight continues.
Emergency vehicles sit parked along the road in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, as the search for the pilot of a downed Angel Flight continues.   (AP Photo/The Daily Gazette, Bethany Bump)
First responders gather at a staging point in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, before continuing their search for the pilot of a light plane that crashed in the wooded area day before.
First responders gather at a staging point in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, before continuing their search for the pilot of a light plane that crashed in the wooded area day before.   (AP Photo/The Daily Gazette, Bethany Bump)
Police and firefighters search a wooded area in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, for a pilot of a light plane that crashed the day before.
Police and firefighters search a wooded area in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, for a pilot of a light plane that crashed the day before.   (AP Photo/The Daily Gazette, Bethany Bump)
First responders gather at a command post in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, as the search for the pilot of a downed Angel Flight out of Massachusetts continues.
First responders gather at a command post in Ephratah, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2013, as the search for the pilot of a downed Angel Flight out of Massachusetts continues.   (AP Photo/The Daily Gazette, Bethany Bump)
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