UPDATED: Police identify Ghent plane crash victims

GHENT—Livingston State Police have released the names of the two people killed in a plane crash in a field behind a residence at 1575 County Route 22 , the afternoon of April 4.

The pilot was David H. Fitzgerald, 49, of Sandisfield, Mass, and his passenger was Louise A. Christensen, 52, of Atlanta, Ga. The two were friends, according to State Police Investigator Marcus Walthour. They were on their way back to an airport in Pittsfield, Mass, after visiting with residents of 1575 County Route 22 for the Easter holiday, according to the investigator, who said there was also a business element to the meeting.

Columbia County 911 dispatchers called the State Police, the Chatham Rescue Squad and Ghent firefighters to the location between Habeck and Spook Rock roads where the small plane was down and in flames at 2:34 p.m.

The fixed-wing, single engine aircraft was taking off from the field when it ascended headed north, suddenly veered to the left, descended rapidly and crashed to the ground. The aircraft became engulfed in flames with the two occupants inside, State Police report.

Autopsies were performed on both crash victims by Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, April 5. Both died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries suffered in the crash.

The plane was an experimental model, assembled privately as opposed to being manufactured, said Investigator Walthour, noting that Mr. Fitzgerald was a pilot with 20 years experience.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.



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