First Fatalities Reported At Jamestown Airport Since 2007
The deaths of three people Sunday near Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport are believed to be the first instances of air-related fatalities in the south county since a Jamestown pastor was killed in January of 2007, Sheriff James Quattrone said during a news conference Monday morning.
The Rev. Msgr. Antoine P. Attea, 73, was killed on Jan. 9, 2007, after the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff from the south county airport. At the time, Attea was the longtime pastor of St. James Parish in Jamestown and Our Lady of Victory Parish in Frewsburg. Those parishes have since merged in the years since his death.
Then-Sheriff Joseph Gerace said a 911 call was received at 9:48 that Monday morning and witnesses saw the plant — a twin-engine Aerostar — dipping suddenly after takeoff amid wintry weather. Attea was believed to have been flying to Buffalo to pick up friends before heading to Florida for a vacation. He had previously been involved in a Dunkirk plane crash in 2005 after two private aircrafts, a Piper Malibu and an Aerostar 601P, flown by Attea, collided at an intersection between runways after landing at Chautauqua County Airport-Dunkirk. There were no serious injuries, though one of the planes was significantly damaged in the collision.
During a press conference held at the airport that day, then-County Executive Greg Edwards said there had not been a fatality at that location since the 1970s.
A July 29, 1970, edition of The Post-Journal reported that three Frewsburg men were injured in a single engine airplane crash that occurred the evening prior in the Ross Mills area due to “dense fog.” The three men sustained injuries ranging from body bruises, dislocated shoulder and head lacerations.
The airport is bolstered by the presence of volunteers from the Fluvanna Fire Department that comprise the airport’s crash rescue crew which can be at the scene of an incident “within three minutes,” according to a January 1982 story that ran in The Post-Journal. Fluvanna Fire Station 2 is slightly more than a mile southeast of the airport terminal building adjacent to an airport taxiway. At the time, that certified the airport as meeting Federal Aviation Administration commercial crash rescue standards even though the facility, at the time, was not a commercial airport. It also did not need the FAA certification to operate.
Fluvanna Fire Station 2 once again was quick to respond during a major search and rescue for the plane that was reported missing shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday night. The search included13 volunteer fire departments, four police agencies, county FAST team and assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Air Force.
The deaths of Alan Fuller, Valerie Holmes and Linda Edwards, of northern Pennsylvania, come 30 days after another small plane crash in Western New York that resulted in the death of personal injury attorney Steve Barnes, formerly of Cellino & Barnes. Barnes, a registered pilot, died along with his niece, Elizabeth Barnes after the single-engine Socata TBM-700 crashed at about 11:45 a.m. in a wooded area near Pembroke as it neared the end of a flight from Manchester, New Hampshire.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.