NORTH COLLINS, N.Y., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Three people were killed after two single-engine planes collided in the skies near Buffalo on Sunday morning, officials said.
A 60-year-old Hamburg, N.Y., man and a couple from nearby Eden, N.Y., both 69, were the only three people on the two planes -- a Cessna and one was a Piper Cherokee that are single-engine, single-propeller planes.
The small aircrafts collided shortly before 9:30 a.m. leaving a debris field over a one-quarter to one-half-mile section, officials from the Erie County Sheriff's Office said at a media briefing.
Six planes took off together around 9 a.m. from Hamburg Airport, Larry Walsh, the airport's vice president, told The Buffalo News. They were planning to go to breakfast, in St. Mary's, Pa., and planned to return later in the day, Walsh said.
"We're all shaking in our boots now," Walsh said.
Karen Ricotta, a North Collins town justice, told the newspaper she heard a noise at about 9:30 a.m. "And when I looked outside, you could see something next door on a mowed farm field. I couldn't identify what it was," Ricotta said. "But when I went outside, another man driving by pulled in my yard and told me it was a plane in the field. I called 911, but they already had been called."
One aircraft landed in a field and the other between a metal storage building and a wooded area, town Supervisor John M. Tobia said.
Tobia said of one plane: "It's like a pancake. It's crushed. You can't tell it's an aircraft."
A witness told a WGRZ photographer he saw two planes collide.
North Collins is 23 miles south of Buffalo.
The sheriff's office contacted the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Almost two years ago – on Sept. 27, 2014 – two people died in a crash in Lancaster when one single-engine aircraft clipped another.