Two people were killed while two others walked away without injury following a mid-air collision of two small airplanes Saturday morning along the Lancaster-Alden border.
The incident occurred just after 10:30am. After the two planes collided, one crashed in a heavily wooded area off Townline Road in Lancaster, resulting in the death of the 78-year-old pilot and a 14-year-old male passenger.
The other plane was able to make a controlled landing along Kieffer Road in Alden. It's occupants included one male pilot, and one nine-year-old female passenger. They escaped injury.
The young passengers were taking part in a "kids day" event at the Lancaster airport, aimed at introducing children to aviation.
Authorities don't know how or why the collision occurred, but an investigation is underway. It was sunny and the sky clear at the time of the crash.
Erie County Sheriff's Captain Gregory Savage said the surviving pilot could not say what went wrong. But officials from the Federal Aviation Administration were already on the scene Saturday afternoon while investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were being brought in to continue the investigation.
Authorities did not release the identities of the two people who died pending notification of next of kin. however it has been revealed that the young passenger who died was a student in the Lancaster Central School District. The School District's Superintendent, Michael Vallely has posted a letter to the district's website, stating that counseling and support staff, trained in crisis response and grief counseling, will be available starting Monday morning
The authorities on the scene could not describe the make of the planes. But the Associated Press cites the FAA in saying the crash involved a Cessna 172 and a SeaRey amateur-built aircraft. The SeaRey landed safely in the Alden field.
An investigator from the National Transportation Safety board is expected to hold a press conference at the Lancaster Police headquarters on Sunday at 5 p.m.