EPHRATAH - Authorities Thursday identified a body found in the town of Ephratah as that of a plane crash victim.
Authorities found the body of Frank Amerosa on Wednesday afternoon next to an unused freezer about 150 feet from Granny's Ice Cream Shanty at the Royal Mountain Campsite on Route 29, a mile or two south of the Adirondack Park.
Crews have been scouring an area near the campgrounds since the May 24 plane crash that killed three people, including Amerosa, 64, a cancer patient who was on an Angel Flight with his wife and a pilot.
Authorities previously recovered the bodies of Amerosa's wife, Evelyn Amerosa, and the pilot, John Campbell.
Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said the body was found underneath the freezer near the stand.
Granny's Ice Cream Shanty owner Joan Dudley, who also owns the campground, this morning said the body apparently hit the freezer and was obscured by a freezer door. She said the body was found after someone moved the freezer, which she said was stored near a garage.
The plane, a Piper PA 34, had taken off from Laurence G. Hanscome Field Airport in Bedford, Mass., and was headed to Griffiss International Airport in Rome.
Authorities said the plane appeared to come apart in the air. The crash site was less than a mile from the ice cream shop.
"We thought all along it was very strange (Frank Amerosa) wasn't in the vicinity of the crash," Lorey said.
The body was taken by an A.G. Cole Funeral Home hearse to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville.
The body was identified as Frank Amerosa's after an examination this morning by Fulton County Coroner Margaret Luck, according to a news release from the Fulton County Sheriff's Office.
No plane debris was found where the body was found, Lorey said.
Dudley pointed out this morning the freezer was not used for storing ice cream. She said she planned to throw out the freezer, which is why it was stored near the garage.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report, the plane was heading northwest near Ephratah when it suddenly altered its course north. The airplane continued on that path for a minute before it descended. The last recorded radar return placed the plane at about 1,500 feet northwest of the crash site at 6,700 feet in the air.
According to the report, the wreckage path measured about a mile in length, starting on the southeast side of the Garoga reservoir and continuing to the north end of the reservoir.
Officials found parts of the plane south of the reservoir. The main wreckage, including the majority of the fuselage and cabin area, along with the right wing and engine, came to rest in the reservoir.
Cyndi Gee, a part-time employee of Granny's Ice Cream, said in an email to The Leader-Herald newspaper, "As a member of this community, I will tell you that this plane crash has devastated all of us, especially us who work there."
Referring to the search and recovery efforts after the crash, she said, "I cannot say enough about the dedication my fire department did every day for over a week ... in the cold, rain for 12 to 14 hours, volunteers.
"What you will find in our little neck of the woods is great people who go above and beyond to help others. You will find employees at Granny's who for days served those people who were searching, the owners who have been upset that this happened on their property but were more upset that this family did not have their precious loved one for a proper burial."
Arthur Cleveland is a reporter for the Leader-Herald of Gloversville.