The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary findings into a fatal midair plane collision in North Collins.
The NTSB says witnesses reported seeing a plane fly into another plane that had taken off earlier, shearing off the first plane's tail before both planes crashed.
Both pilots and a passenger were killed in the September 24 accident about 20 miles south of Buffalo. The two planes were the first of six to take off for a group outing to Pennsylvania.
The NTSB says the first plane, a Cessna, left before the others because it was slower and needed more time to reach the destination. A Piper followed.
The Cessna was not equipped with a transponder, nor was it required to be, and its flight was not recorded in the preliminary radar data. However, additional radar data were requested from the FAA.
The NTSB's initial examination revealed three wreckage sites. It says the Cessna's tail exhibited four propeller cuts through its left side. The Piper's left wing section exhibited black rubber transfer, consistent with contact from one of the Cessna's landing gear tires.
The NTSB says both cockpit sections were destroyed and only two readable instruments were recovered from the Cessna. No readable instruments were recovered from the Piper.
Elevator and rudder control continuity were confirmed from the Cessna's cockpit to the rear cabin area where the cables were separated at their ends, consistent with overload, the NTSB says.
Paul Rosiek, 60, of Hamburg was killed in the Cessna. In October 2014, when his most recent medical certificate was issued, Rosiek reported 786 hours of flight experience.
Pilot Richard and Kathleen Walker of Eden died in the Piper. When the pilot, 69, medical certificate was issued in June 2016, he reported 793 hours of flight experience.