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Police ID 3 victims from plane crash near Lake Placid - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police ID 3 victims from plane crash near Lake Placid

Posted: Updated:
NORTH ELBA, N.Y. -

The New York State Police and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing their investigation into the cause of the crash that occurred just minutes after the plane attempted to land at Lake Placid Airport. Investigators say there was a mishap on the runway that sent the plane back up into the air, leading to the tragic crash.

Investigators are looking into whether misinformation given to a pilot attempting to land in Lake Placid contributed to the plane's subsequent crash.

Frank Kafka of West Virginia was attempting to land his plane around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

“An individual on the ground responded wind advisory and no traffic," said investigator Jonathon Garrow, New York Police.

Eyewitnesses say he aborted his landing after swerving to the right to avoid the other plane.

"Another aircraft, after that initial response, was spotted overhead basically prior to a visual, approaching or descending to the runway from the opposite end of the runway. At that point that is when the victim’s aircraft returned to full throttle and did a hard banking right maneuver," said Garrow.

As Kafka lifted his plane back into the air, attempting to circle back around to the other end of the runway, he lost control.

"It reached an altitude approximately, from their statements, 200 feet and at some point appeared to maybe level off, did a sharp dip to the left and did a downward spiral," said Garrow.

The plane crashed less than a quarter of a mile from the airport, killing 63-year-old Kafka, his daughter Kathleen Kafka and Reed Phillips. Kathleen Kafka and Phillips were both students at Clarkson University in New York.

On a sightseeing flight in Lake Placid, the three had left Potsdam Airport earlier in the day flying in a 1967 Mooney Aircraft. A member of the NTSB said he does not think the plane’s age played a role in the crash.

“There are many, many aircrafts that are much older than this one flying," said Paul Cox, NTSB investigator.

The aircraft had passed its yearly inspection and because the plane flew below 18,000 feet, it did not have to file a flight plan.

With no black box or recording device inside the plane, the investigation into the exact cause of the crash could take months.

"The NTSB will do an analysis and then it will do a probable cause. The whole idea of the NTSB is to make travel safer," said Cox.

The NTSB says it could take up to seven months before a cause is determined but a preliminary report is expected within 10 to 12 days.

Clarkson University said in a statement its community was deeply saddened by the loss of two of its students.

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