By | January 15, 2024

Three people killed in plane crash on Greenfield-Leyden line identified

Three individuals who tragically lost their lives in a plane crash near the Greenfield-Leyden line on Sunday have been identified by the Massachusetts State Police. The victims have been named as William Hampton, aged 68, from Indian Orchard; Fredrika Ballard, aged 53, from Southwick; and Chad Davidson, aged 29, from Woodstock, Conn.

The plane involved in the incident was registered to Fly Lugu flight school and was a Beechcraft 55 Baron Twin-Piston aircraft with Tail Number N7345R. Ballard, the owner of Fly Lugu flight school, was on board the plane along with Hampton, who was a flight instructor, and Davidson, a student pilot.

The aircraft was discovered at approximately 12:33 p.m. on Sunday in a small clearing within the woods of the Leyden Wildlife Management Area. Sadly, all three individuals were pronounced dead at the scene by Greenfield firefighters and American Medical Response paramedics.

Prior to the crash, the plane had departed from Barnes Airport in Westfield at approximately 11:06 a.m. on Sunday, according to state police detectives from the Northwest District Attorney’s Office. Authorities commenced their search for the crash site at 11:30 a.m. after receiving 911 calls from concerned dog walkers in Leyden and Greenfield who reported seeing a plane that appeared to be in distress.

Following the recovery of the victims’ bodies, troopers meticulously processed and documented the crash site. Inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration also attended the scene on Sunday, and a National Transportation Safety Board investigator was expected to arrive on Monday.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation by various agencies, including the Massachusetts State Police, Greenfield Police, the Northwest District Attorney’s Office, the FAA, and the National Transportation Safety Board. Federal authorities have not yet provided any official explanation for the incident.

The National Weather Service confirmed that snow squalls did not affect the Greenfield area until around 1 p.m. on the day of the crash, and wind speeds at the time were recorded at approximately 10 mph.

This tragic event serves as a reminder of the inherent risks associated with aviation. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families and loved ones of the victims during this difficult time.


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