A Van's Aircraft RV-10
There were no injuries reported after a small plane carrying three people crashed in the Adirondack wilderness near Lake Placid on Thursday, Feb. 21.
The Van’s Aircraft RV-10 crashed around 6:30 p.m., according to Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish. A state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) crew led the three out of the forest at about 2:30 a.m. Friday.
On the plane were Michael Oster, 54, Jeff O’Connor, 58, and Frank Dombroski, 51, all of Westfield, N.J., according to DEC Region 5 spokesman David Winchell.
According to a flight plan observed by Adirondack Regional Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch, the three New Jersey men had planned to land the small plane at the Lake Placid Airport on Thursday evening.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, Jaquish said, adding that original reports that the crash occurred near Nye Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness were false. A statement by the governor’s office concluded the crash site was actually just west of Lake Placid near Big Burn Mountain in the Mackenzie Mountain Wilderness Area.
“The latitude and longitude coordinates given to us by the passengers proved to be incorrect,” Jaquish said. “For whatever reason, their GPS device wasn’t accurate, so it took DEC longer to find them.”
According to the statement by the governor’s office, “Two DEC Forest Rangers initially responded to the Mount Jo trailhead on the Adirondack Loj Road and headed to the crash site on snowshoes and carrying cold weather gear for the crash victims. A second team of four Forest Rangers started a short while later carrying equipment for evacuating the three men.”
A forest ranger was in direct phone contact with the men at the crash site.
“They reported they had erected a tarp as a temporary shelter and put on extra clothing in attempt to stay warm,” the release stated.
The forest rangers were able to reach the crash site by snowmobile via the Jackrabbit Trail and on took to snowshoes for the last half mile.
The three men were located by the Forest Rangers at 1:55 a.m. The men were evacuated by snowmobile to the Whiteface Inn Road Trailhead where they were evaluated by the Lake Placid Rescue Squad. It was determined the men were fine and they declined any further medical treatment or transport.
On Feb. 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement thanking the first responders for their search-and-rescue work.
“I commend the DEC Rangers who conducted this rescue, Lt. Charles Platt, Joe LaPierre, Scott VanLaer, Jim Giglinto, Kevin Burns, David Russell, Pete Evans, and Chris Kostoss, as well as the members of the State Police and local emergency response personnel who helped with this rescue,” Cuomo said.
State Police are providing site security pending investigation by the FAA.
More information will be provided as it becomes available.