New York plane crash kills Georgia family

Five members of a Georgia family returning home from a youth baseball tournament in New York have lost their lives in a plane crash.

MASONVILLE, NY – Five members of a family from Georgia who were visiting Cooperstown, New York, for a baseball tournament died when their small plane crashed in a rural part of the state, authorities confirmed on Monday.

The single-engine Piper PA-46 crashed around 2 p.m. Sunday after taking off from Albert S. Nader Regional Airport in Oneonta, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The New York State Police found the wreckage of the plane and the remains of the five people on board Sunday night in the town of Masonville. Their multi-agency search involved drones, helicopters and all-terrain vehicles.

The Van Epps family (Credit: Ansley Van Epps)

The Van Epps family (Credit: Ansley Van Epps)

The victims were identified as Roger Beggs, 76; Laura Van Epps, 43; Ryan Van Epps, 42; James Van Epps, 12; and Harrison Van Epps, 10.

The family was returning to Georgia after attending a tournament in Cooperstown, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, police said.

The plane was headed to Cobb County International Airport in Atlanta with a fueling stop in West Virginia when it crashed, the state police said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

amily (Credit: Ansley Van Epps)

FOX 5 Atlanta reached out to a neighbor of the family who was shocked when she learned about the tragedy.

“They were just the nicest people and everyone knew them. It’s just devastating,” Caroline Slayton told FOX 5. “I saw them every day. They were always playing in the yard, and playing all the sports, and we would say, ‘Hi!’”

“We’re just so sorry,” she continued. “We’re so sorry. It’s hard to imagine.”

King’s Ridge Christian School, where the children attended, issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to report the tragic passing of a King’s Ridge Christian School family: Ryan and Laura Van Epps, their sons, King’s Ridge students James and Harrison, and the children’s grandfather, Roger Beggs.

Our hearts and prayers are with all who are affected by this tragedy. James and Harrison were remarkable young men, and this is a shocking and heartbreaking loss for our community.

We invite you to join us in prayer for the Van Epps family.”

Heath Honeycutt, the owner of the Ninth Inning Baseball league with which the boys played, also shared his condolences:

“Ninth Inning Baseball is devastated and deeply saddened to hear of the recent loss within our baseball family. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to the Van Epps family and friends on behalf of our entire organization. Help us pray for their family and friends.”