One man dead, another in critical condition following small plane crash at Great Valley Airport

State News

GREAT VALLEY, N.Y. (WIVB) — One man is dead and another in critical condition following a small plane crashed Wednesday in Great Valley, according to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s office.

Officials tell News 4 80-year-old William Mandelare of Brockport died in the crash and 72-year-old Raymond Groetsch Sr., also of Brockport, is in critical condition at ECMC.

Sheriff Whitcomb’s office says they responded to the scene at the Great Valley Airport at 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday. According to the office, it appears a problem occurred during take-off, and the plane crashed into a field just off the runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced an air safety investigator will arrive at the accident site Thursday to begin the on-scene phase of the investigation. They said the plane was a Cessna 177, which the Cessna Flyer Association describes as “a light single-engine, high-wing general aviation aircraft.”

One witness we spoke with says she saw the entire thing.

Tara Keeley says after living across from the runway for more than two decades, it’s easy to tell when something is wrong – and she says it was clear there was a problem right after takeoff.

“I was in my chair and you can usually tell how high a plane should be as they pass your field of view – we’ve been here 25 years. This guy was very low. I didn’t notice any smoke I didn’t notice any sputtering engines. But he took a hard banking left and went wing first into the ground and then just collapsed.”

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