Three young Niagara men are being remembered for their love of aviation after a tragic plane crash in rural, mountainous northwestern Pennsylvania.
Corey Mijac, 18, Ben Jeffries, 19, and Rifat Tawfig, 25, were killed in the crash Sunday night.
The wreckage of their plane, a small Canadian-registered Piper PA-28 Cherokee, was discovered by a search and rescue team the following day.
The aircraft had been bound for Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake after departing from Richmond, Va.
Mijac and Jeffries, both recent graduates of Governor Simcoe Secondary School, are from St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake respectively. Tawfig is from Niagara Falls.
Both teens were students at St. Catharines Flying Club, where Tawfig worked as an instructor.
Club spokesman Conrad Hatcher said the trio were in one of five planes returning back from several days of training in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“It was a trip to gain experience, have a little adventure. You learn a bunch of things when you travel,” he said, adding it’s a journey the club has made many times over the years.
Some of those planes returned a day earlier than planned, but the Cherokee and another near identical aircraft remained in South Carolina before departing Sunday.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration lost radio contact with the plane over Potter County, Pa., at about 7 p.m. Sunday. It disappeared from radar at that time. Read more....