A small plane reportedly registered to Buffalo attorney Steve Barnes has crashed in Genesee County, and sources tell the Buffalo News that Barnes was on board.
The firm had no comment to WBFO but The News cites two sources at the firm saying he was on board, and "a third source said Barnes and a female relative were on board and both died." WBFO has been unable to confirm his death independently.
In a tweet, the National Traffic Safety Board announced that they are investigating the crash of a Socata TBM Aircraft in Pembroke, NY. Tail registration numbers at the scene correspond to a plane registered to the same address as the Cellino and Barnes's law firm.
Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron told reporters a man and a woman were killed and there were no survivors. He did not identify the victims. The plane went down at approximately 11:45 Friday morning in a wooded area off Boyce Road, a mile off of Genesee St, he said.
Neighbors described a plane making a loud, whining noise, then dropping into a wooded area, Sheron said.
First responders said the plane was disintegrated and left a large crater on the ground. Sheron said it will be quite some time before remains can be discovered.
Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene Friday afternoon.
Until recently, Barnes was one half of the iconic Cellino and Barnes, a Buffalo-based personal injury law firm that rose to national prominence on the basis of prolific advertising, extensive billboards bearing his face, and the 888-8888 vanity phone number made famous in a jingle that went nationwide.
The firm split into two entities after partner Ross Cellino petitioned a state supreme court to allow a division of their assets ito two firms, triggering a long legal battle that resulted in a negotiated settlement The division was effective in late February, and the court proceedings Cellino v. Barnes is currently the subject of an off-Broadway play.
His biography at the Cellino and Barnes website says he was a former officer in the Marine Corps and had served in the Gulf War, and had been selected to the Best Lawyers in America and Who's Who in Law lists in 2011.