WEB: Plane Bound for Moore Crashes
A plane bound for Southern Pines crashed during a thunderstorm in Maryland Wednesday, killing all three people on board.
A Piper PA-30 crashed in a field near Trappe just north of the Choptank River, according to Maryland State Police 1st Sgt. Russell Newell.
Troopers have not released the identities of victims, but numerous media outlets have identified the victims as Gregory Doppke and Richard Lomas, business partners in Hawthorne, N.Y., and Andrew Young, a chef from Mahopac, N.Y.. They were headed to Pinehurst to golf, according to several reports.
Five of their friends took commercial flights to Moore County previously. Three of them were waiting at the Moore County Airport for them to arrive, according to Ron Maness, executive director of the airport.
Newell said that troopers have not released the plane's tail number, but news reporters at the crash scene used it to determine that the two-engine propeller plane took off from Westchester County Airport in New York and was headed for Moore County.
A U.S. Navy radar station called the State Police about 9:39 a.m. when it observed a rapid decent and lost contact with the aircraft. Troopers and rescuers responded to the area and found the crash site near U.S. 50, Newell said.
The plane did not strike any dwellings or occupied structures, Newell said.
Doppke, 62, of Greenwich, Conn., and Lomas, 58, of Stamford, Conn., were business partners with ABM Air Conditioning and Heating in Hawthorne. Doppke owned the plane.
Young was the owner of Andrew Young and Co., a restaurant consulting firm out of New York City. Prior to owning his business, he worked at several restaurants including Ma Maisons with Wolfgang Puck.
Maness said that the airport staff was tracking the plane and began looking more closely after a family member called the airport after seeing a report of the crash on CNN.
The staff found that the destination in the flight plan had been changed from Southern Pines to unknown. About that time, one of the friends of passengers on the plane who was waiting at the Moore County Airport received a call on a cell phone and heard about the crash from a family member.
"Then they left," Maness said. "I'm not sure if they were local people or what."
Maness said that most of the information he's been able to gather has been from published reports. Weather may have been a factor, he said.
"From a pilot's perspective, 727s don't tangle with thunderstorms," Maness said.
When Maness flies, he said, he gives thunderstorms about 20 miles leeway, because of the strong winds and hail associated with them.
"(Thunderstorms) are really violent machines," he said. "They have incredible velocity of wind."
Matthew Moriarty can be reached at 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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