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Police & Fire

IDs Released For Those Involved In Double-Fatal Dutchess Plane Crash

Emergency responders at the crash scene. Photo Credit: LaGrange Fire Department
A look at the house that became engulfed in flames after the crash. Photo Credit: WNBC Chopper 4
South Smith Road in Union Vale, just south of Sky Acres Airport and east of the Taconic State Parkway. Photo Credit: Google Maps

The identities of the two people killed and four injured when a small plane crashed into a two-story home near a public-access airport in the area have been released.

The crash happened in Dutchess County just after 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Aug. 17 on South Smith Road in Union Vale, just south of Sky Acres Airport and east of the Taconic State Parkway.

The two who died were the pilot of the Cessna 303, identified as Francisco Knipping-Diaz, 61, of Woodmere in Nassau County, and a man who was in the house at the time, Gerard Bocker, 61, who has been tentatively identified pending confirmation at autopsy, state police said.

Also present in the home were Bocker's daughters, Hannah Bocker, 21, who was critically injured, and Sarah Bocker, 30, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The two passengers in the plane suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to police. They have been ID'd as Eduardo Tio, 50, of Woodmere, and Teoflio Antonio Diaz Pratt, 52, of the Dominican Republic,

The plane departed from Orange County Airport and stopped to refuel at Sky Acres, located in the Town of Union Vale.

It was leaving Sky Acres en route to Republic Airport, located in East Farmingdale in Nassau County, when it crashed into the house located about a mile south of the airport.

The plane experienced some sort of engine trouble before it struck the side of the house, according to authorities. The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and state police.

Hundreds of emergency responders rushed to the scene, with fire trucks, ambulances and state and local police vehicles throughout the area, and numerous road closures in the area Saturday afternoon and evening.

“We pray for all those involved in the plane crash," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said in a statement.

Molinaro said Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response, the Union Vale Fire Department, along with multiple other agencies rushed to the scene and "we are grateful to all of our local first responders here at the site and those providing support."

"Many of these men and women expected to be in Red Hook celebrating the annual tradition of the Dutchess County Volunteer Firemen’s Association County Convention Parade," Molinaro said. "Instead, they once again answer the call of duty. We pray for their safety as they respond to this critical event.”

This continues to be a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.

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