State Medical Examiner confirms identities of plane crash victims

By George Chappell | Nov 21, 2012
The airport terminal can be seen on the left of the runways. The plane crashed in the woods to the right of the runways near Dublin Road, which is to the right in the photograph.

Augusta — The state's Chief Medical Examiner's office on Nov. 21, confirmed the identities of the three young men killed in the air crash at Owls Head Regional Airport on Friday, Nov. 16.

Identified were William Hannigan, 24, of South Portland, David Cheney, 22, of Beverly, Mass., and Marcelo Rugini, 24, of Muliterno, Brazil, who had been living in Nobleboro as an exchange student.

The cause of death confirmed by the autopsy was "multiple blunt impact injury," said Mark Belserene, administrator for the Chief Medical Examiner's Office.

"The impact killed them," he said.

Toxicology tests were not part of the autopsy, he added, but will be part of the Federal Aviation Administration's investigation in a few weeks.

The autopsy confirmed the identities named in a news release from the University of Maine, where all three men were members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Cheney and Rugini were students, and Hannigan was an alumnus of the class of 2011.

The three young men were in a 1979 Cessna, four-seat plane, which took off from runway at Owls Head at 4:44 p.m. Nov. 16. Shortly after takeoff, the plane collided with a pickup truck operated by Stephen Turner, 62, of Camden, as he drove his 1994 GMC Sonoma across the runway.

The plane became airborne, but crashed in the woods nearby on airport property, killing all three people inside.

The truck was authorized to be on airport grounds, Chief Deputy Tim Carroll of the Knox County Sheriff's Office previously said.

Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or by email at

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