Two dead in Lake Placid airplane crash

Lake Placid volunteer firefighters work on retrieving a plane that crashed, killing two, at the Lake Placid Airport on Sunday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

LAKE PLACID — Two people are dead following an airplane crash at the Lake Placid Airport on Sunday.

The crash happened around 4:09 p.m. at the end of a runway, close to the North Elba Athletic Fields. Lake Placid emergency services, New York State Police, Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad and state Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers responded.

Dozens of emergency personnel were at the scene on Sunday. The plane was sideways, down near the bottom of an embankment at the end of the runway, visible from Recycle Circle Road.

Several gliders were still in the air above the airfield after the crash, and they were directed to land elsewhere at the airport.

The airfield was classified as a crime scene and closed to the public around 5 p.m. as emergency workers began to retrieve the plane from the gully.

New York State Police Troop B spokeswoman Brandi Ashley said troopers are investigating a small private plane crash at the airport, but she could not say much more by press time Sunday since the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Traffic Safety Board are getting involved in the investigation.

She said more information from State Police should be available today.

There have been at least 17 airplane crashes in Lake Placid since 1962, the most recent in 2014, according to National Transportation Safety Board records and past articles in the Enterprise.

Lake Placid Airways, formerly known as the Adirondack Flying Service, operates a flight service at the Lake Placid Airport. It was transferred to new ownership this year after nearly 50 years under Steve Short, who took over the airport after his father, the previous owner, suffered an aneurysm in 1974. Al Furnia started the Adirondack Flying Service; Steve Short’s father took over from Furnia after Furnia got cancer.

The new owners of Lake Placid Airways are Rives Potts, 74, and Russ Francis, 70. Potts races yachts and was a member of the crew that won the 1980 America’s Cup. Francis is a first-round NFL draft pick with a 1985 Super Bowl ring and three selections to the Pro Bowl. As of August, Short was still employed by Lake Placid Airways as the chief pilot and director of operations.

The Lake Placid Airport is owned by the town of North Elba.

Attempts to reach representatives of the flight service were unsuccessful as of press time Sunday.

Enterprise Managing Editor Elizabeth Izzo contributed reporting. This is a breaking news story. More details will be added as they become available.


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