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3 killed when plane hits truck in Maine

Nov. 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM   |   Comments

OWLS HEAD, Maine, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The three men killed when their plane crashed into a truck on an airport runway were a University of Maine graduate and two students, the school said Saturday.

The accident occurred Friday evening at the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head, Maine, the Kennebec Journal reported.

While the county sheriff's office said it would await DNA testing before naming the victims, the university said Saturday night they were William "B.J." Hannigan III, 24, of South Portland; David Cheney, 22, of Beverly, Mass.; and Marcelo Rugini, 24, an exchange student from Brazil living in Nobleboro, the newspaper said.

University Vice President for Student Affairs Robert Dana said Hannigan was the pilot.

Authorities said Saturday the pickup truck driver, Stephen Turner , 62, of Camden, was driving across the main runway when it collided with the victims' Cessna 172 as they were trying to take off shortly before 5 p.m.

The sheriff's office said Turner, who was not injured, had just put a plane in a hangar and was driving back to the terminal, a common practice the airport manager said is allowed if the driver has received training from airport officials and the vehicle has a radio. Airport Manager Jeff Northgraves has said Friday night the driver had both, though he didn't identify Turner at the time.

The plane climbed briefly after the impact, then veered sharply and crashed into a nearby wooded area where it burst into flames.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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