UPDATE: Two die in Jamestown plane crash near airport

Two Canadian men were killed when the single-engine plane they were in crashed Tuesday afternoon in a field next to the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport in the town of Ellicott. Sheriff James Quattrone identified the pilot as 52-year-old Roger Jay Ryall of Toronto and the plane’s passenger as 52-year-old David J Hughes of British Columbia.

During a press briefing outside the airport terminal, Quattrone said it was apparent the Cirrus SR-22 had experienced a “catastrophic failure.”

Emergency crews were alerted to the crash just before 2 p.m. Light smoke could be seen coming from a wooded area — within sight of the airport’s runways.

Over the next 20 minutes, first responders had arrived in the field, accessed from a dirt road off the airport’s parking lot.

Quattrone said the plane had departed Tuesday morning from Oshawa, Ontario in Canada and flew to Erie, Pa. At 11:37 a.m., the plane traveled from Erie to Jamestown, arriving just after noon.

According to Quattrone, the plane departed the Jamestown airport at 1:41 p.m. for Waterloo in Canada, but crashed 11 minutes after takeoff. He said the plane was based in Oshawa.

“At this time we’re waiting for the (National Transportation Safety Board) and the (Federal Aviation Administration) to come down to complete their investigation,” Quattrone said. “At this time, we don’t have a reason for the crash, but we will continue to investigate.”

In a message posted to Twitter, the NTSB confirmed it was investigating Tuesday’s crash.

James Mortimer, a Jamestown resident, was riding his bicycle on Girts Road near the south county airport when he first heard a plane in the area. A minute later, he heard a plane again.

“It looked to me like it was above the runway,” Mortimer told The Post-Journal. “It looked like it was climbing, like it had just taken off. Then I saw it start to make, like it was turning to the left.”

“It started this turn,” he continued. “It banked really steeply, like it was in a bank. I said, ‘That’s not right. That’s not good.’ I thought it was going to go down right there, but it straightened out again and it turned to the right and flew to the right. … It wasn’t climbing and it didn’t look like it was dropping too much. But I saw it pop the chute not even two seconds — after it popped the chute it was into the ground.”

As noted by the sheriff, the plane was equipped with a parachute recovery system. He confirmed Mortimer’s account that the parachute had been deployed before the crash.

Asked if the plane had reported any problems prior to the crash, Quattrone said, “None that we are aware. We have no indication they called any ‘May Day’ or any issues with their plane.”

Numerous agencies responded to the airport on Tuesday. Among them: the New York State Police, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, Ellicott Police Department and state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Fire departments on the scene included Fluvanna, which has a substation at the airport, as well as Gerry and Bemus Point.


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