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Camden man dead in Old Forge aircraft crash; grandson survives

OLD FORGE, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Camden man has died and his grandson injured following an aircraft crash in Herkimer County.

According to the Town of Webb Police Chief, Robert Hurd, 71, of Camden, was flying the ultralight aircraft Wednesday morning with his grandson, Vincent Whitney, 20, of Clinton as his passenger.

The plane, a 1989 Maxair MU 582 Drifter aircraft was equipped with pontoons and according to Airport-Data.com was issued an air-worthiness certificate on June 7th of 2007.

Authorities said that the plane had just taken off when a change in the winds caused the plane to nosedive into a swampy area near First Lake around 11:10 a.m., killing Hurd and injuring his grandson.

"We saw the ultralight coming down the lake and as it taxied down the lake, she turned around and started to take off," said Michele Craig of Pulaski, who witnessed the crash. "And the wind was kind of rough this morning and it wasn't up even two minutes...and all of a sudden, the engine cut out and all you heard was 'crunch.'"

Hurd was killed upon impact, according to Herkimer County Coroner Dan Rivet Jr, and Whitney was rushed to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica where he was listed in fair condition and expected to be released soon.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also responded to the crash site for an investigation, along with Town of Webb and Old Forge Police Departments and rescue crews.

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