OWLS HEAD — Authorities said Saturday that a 62-year-old pilot from Camden was driving the pickup involved in a deadly plane crash at the Knox County Regional Airport on Friday evening.
According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Stephen Turner was driving a 1994 Sonoma truck across the airport’s main runway when it collided with a Cessna 172 trying to take off shortly before 5 p.m. Friday.
The sheriff’s office said Turner had just finished putting a plane in a hangar at the airport and was driving back to the terminal. That’s a common practice at the airport, the sheriff’s office said, and the airport manager said it’s allowed if the driver has received training from airport officials and the vehicle has a radio.
Airport manager Jeff Northgraves said Friday night that the driver had training and a radio, but he didn’t identify Turner at the time.
The plane climbed briefly after the collision and then veered sharply before crashing into a wooded area a few hundred feet from the runway and bursting into flames.
All three people aboard the plane died. Turner was not hurt.
A message left for Turner was not returned Saturday evening.
The Bangor Daily News reported that a University of Maine student said the three who died are Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity members and that he was supposed to join them on the flight over eastern Maine.
One of the three had recently gotten his pilot’s license, he said.
Attempts to reach the fraternity house were not successful. A recording said the number was out of order.
Authorities said they are conducting DNA tests on the bodies and don’t expect to be able to confirm the identities of the victims until later this week.
Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]