A husband and wife from Florida were killed when a plane they were in crashed in Canton Monday night.
The couple, formerly of Canton, was found dead inside the plane after a helicopter spotted it on the side of a mountain after it failed to land in Simsbury. Rescue crews said they located the plane after searching for more than two hours in the heavily wooded area near Onion Mountain State Park.
The victims have been identified as 73-year-old Donald Derocher and 74-year-old Josephine Derocher.
Officials said they were living in Live Oak, FL, but were flying to Connecticut to visit family for a funeral. The funeral was for Donald Derocher's father, who had recently passed away at the age of 96.
According to officials from the FAA, the small plane was being tracked by Bradley International Airport air traffic control and dropped off the radar before reaching the airport in Simsbury.
Both LIFE STAR helicopters were dispatched to the scene after the plane was found, but they were both canceled a short time later.
"It was quite an undertaking to do a good job getting in there," said Canton Police Capt. Lawrence Terra. "You have to understand, there are no roads up there where they had to go. So, they had to make their own trails to get in and get out."
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board spent Tuesday on Onion Mountain, trying to figure out what made the plane go down.
"The goal right now is to look at the accident site, collect any perishable information we can, whether its GPS, any data devices, and just begin our investigation," said Jay Neylon of NTSB.
Donald Derocher's brother said the pair were inseparable, and Donald's favorite thing to do was to fly.
"It's unbelievable," said Bob Derocher, who lives in Coventry. "He was a good pilot and had flown that way many times so I am in disbelief."
Bob Derocher received a call from his sister Tuesday morning. And while still coping with the loss of his father, he is still grateful for the good times that he shared with his brother.
"He was a warm funny person who loved to fly and play in his band," said Bob Derocher. "He was a very kind individual in fact he has a DJ business and love going to senior centers."
Neighbors finding out about the tragedy just behind their homes Tuesday were shocked.
"It's very tragic and sad," said Michael Schenk of Simsbury. "It's scary to think that it happened so close to us."
Schenk said nothing seemed out of the ordinary Monday night until he saw the state police helicopter circling Onion Mountain.
"It was with a spotlight, I guess it was searching for wreckage," he said. "So it was over for about 45 minutes to an hour it passed around."
Canton firefighters are assisting the FAA and NTSB are all agencies are expected to return to the crash site Wednesday. However, it will be longer before investigators have all the answers they need about the crash.
"Every accident is different, we really don't know," Neylon said. "It's too early to speculate what the cause is. It could be up to a year before we determine what the probable cause may be."
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
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