Lancaster superintendent says crash victim was well liked

Sep 28, 2014

Lancaster school students are grieving the death of one of their own in a Saturday morning plane crash.

Fourteen-year-old freshman James Metz was on a private plane flown by 78-year-old Anthony Mercurio as part of a program to interest young people in flying. The plane was involved in a mid-air collision and the two were killed. Two-others in the other plane survived.

James Metz

School Superintendent Michael Vallely says there were other Lancaster students at the Young Eagles program at Lancaster airport, including Metz' younger brother. Word of the crash began to circulate immediately on social media and most students learned of the death within hours.

Vallely says Metz was a well-known kid from a well-known family.

"He knew a lot of students.  He had been here since Kindergarten," Vallely said.
Vallely says Metz was on the high school swim team in eighth grade and was an active member of the music program, playing in a wind ensemble.

His mother was active in the district PTO.

The superintendent says social media put the word of the death out so quickly grief counselors started to work immediately on Saturday.