• Truck driver correctly broadcast intentions before fatal Maine plane crash


    OWLS HEAD, Maine (AP) — A preliminary report regarding a Nov. 16 fatal small plane crash in Owls Head says a truck driver correctly broadcast his intention to drive across a runway moments before a departing plane hit the truck and crashed killing the three people on board.

    The small plane that spiraled downward and burst into flames was carrying two University of Maine students and one alumnus, all of whom died in the crash, the school said Saturday.

    The school and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity said the victims of Friday night's crash were 22-year-old David Cheney, of Beverly, Mass.; 24-year-old Marcelo Rugini, an exchange student from Brazil; and 24-year-old William "B.J." Hannigan III, of South Portland.

    Hannigan, who graduated from the university in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, was piloting the plane and had been working on his flight hours, Dana said.

    Cheney was a business major and the fraternity's president. Rugini, who lived in Nobleboro and was from Muliterno, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, was an economics major.

    The Cessna 172 was heading north on the Knox County Regional Airport runway early Friday night when it struck the truck, which was authorized to be on airport grounds, Knox County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tim Carroll said. The plane continued to climb and as it turned to the east, it dived about 200 to 300 yards into the thick woods and immediately burst into flames, the sheriff's office said.

    The pickup truck that was struck by the plane was allowed to be at the airport and was driven by a pilot who was picking up another pilot who had parked a plane in a hangar, Carroll said. The truck driver wasn't hurt.

    All trucks at the airport are equipped with radios to pick up any traffic from planes, airport manager Jeff Northgraves said. He said planes are required to radio their positions before, during and after takeoff.

    The collision sent flames 10 to 20 feet in the air and smoke billowing into the sky. The first people to the scene tried unsuccessfully to pull one of the occupants from the burning wreckage, said John Newcomb, president of the Downeast Air airline services company, who was among those who tried to help.

    Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board planned to begin investigating the crash Saturday.

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