Plane recovered; search for man continues

EPHRATAH – The search continued today for the body of a plane passenger a day after recovery workers pulled a portion of the wrecked aircraft from a pond.

Officials are looking for the body of Frank Amerosa, who is presumed dead after an Angel Flight plane crashed Friday. The bodies of the other two people in the plane, Amerosa’s wife, Evelyn Amerosa, and pilot John Campbell, have been recovered.

Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said Tuesday the search for the body of 64-year-old Frank Amerosa is making progress.

He said workers will drain the pond where wreckage from the aircraft came to rest. The draining could take at least a day, he said.

The pond is connected to the Garoga Creek. Search teams will search the area once the water has been removed, Lorey said.

“The search for the third victim of the plane crash remains ongoing and the plane has been recovered,” Lorey said. “We will continue to search until we have covered every possible avenue.”

Lorey said the aircraft was lifted and removed Tuesday, but no body was found inside.

He said a salvage crew will move the plane from the scene and transport it to Delaware, where officials will examine the aircraft. He said it could take up to a year for the investigation to be completed.

The twin-engine aircraft went down near the Royal Mountain Campsites off Route 29 near Rockwood.

Rescue workers have been scouring woods and the 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, authorities said.

Campbell, 70, of Stamford, Conn., was flying Frank and Evelyn Amerosa back from the Boston area, where Frank Amerosa was being treated for brain cancer, officials and family said.

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.

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.

Lorey said the aircraft was lost on radar at about 7,000 feet.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric 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.