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Woodmere man piloted Republic-bound plane that crashed into upstate home, police say

A fire engulfs a home in upstate Union

A fire engulfs a home in upstate Union Vale on Saturday after a small plane heading to Republic Airport in Farmingdale crashed into the building, killing the pilot and a person in the residence, officials said. Credit: Spectrum News / @MercedesTVnews

A Woodmere man was piloting a twin-engine plane that crashed into a Dutchess County home Saturday as it headed to Republic Airport, killing him and a man in the house, State Police said late Sunday.

The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna 300 was "tentatively identified" as Francisco Knipping-Diaz, 61, of Woodmere, who died at scene. His two passengers were identified as Eduardo Tio, 50, also of Woodmere, and Teoflio Antonio Diaz Pratt, 52, of the Dominican Republic, both of whom sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

"At the time of the crash, the home at 235 South Smith Road was occupied by Gerard Bocker, 61, who has been tentatively identified pending confirmation at autopsy. Also present in the home was Hannah Bocker, 21, who was critically injured, and Sarah Bocker, 30, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries," the State Police said in a release, adding that the house was located in the town of Union Vale.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Sunday that the plane had taken off earlier Saturday from Republic Airport with Orange County Airport in upstate Montgomery as its destination.

After the plane took off from Orange County Airport for its return flight to Republic, the aircraft landed at Sky Acres Airport in LaGrangeville to refuel, said Capt. Paul DeQuarto of the State Police on Saturday.

Not long after the six-seat plane left the LaGrangeville airport it had "engine trouble, then went down," DeQuarto said.

The site of the crash is about 2,000 feet south of the runway at Sky Acres, an airport that serves small aircraft.  

The Poughkeepsie Journal reported that smoke could be seen rising from the home. Firefighters responded to the scene, as did police and emergency medical vehicles from surrounding communities.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause of the crash, officials said.

With AP

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