Family of 5 in New York for Baseball Tournament Dies in Small Plane Crash

Members of the Van Epps family were on board a Piper Malibu Mirage aircraft leaving upstate New York when the crash happened

<p>Facebook</p> The Van Epps family: Laura Van Epps, Ryan Van Epps, Harrison Van Epps and James Van Epps


The Van Epps family: Laura Van Epps, Ryan Van Epps, Harrison Van Epps and James Van Epps

A family of five who were in upstate New York for a baseball tournament died in a small plane crash on Sunday, June 30, authorities said.

In a news release, the New York State Police (NYSP) announced the crash of a Piper Malibu Mirage aircraft occurred in the area along Lake Cecil Road in Masonville.

The five victims who were aboard the aircraft were Laura Van Epps, 43; Ryan Van Epps, 42; James R. Van Epps, 12; Harrison Van Epps, 10; and Roger Beggs, 76. The NYSP said they were all family members.

The NYSP said the family — who lived in Georgia — was in Cooperstown for the sporting event before the incident took place. 

Related: Canadian Family of 5, Including 3 Kids, Identified as Victims of Plane Crash on Nashville Highway

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The police added that it received a report of a possible crash around 2 p.m. on Sunday. The search of the Lake Cecil Road area involved drones, ATVs and helicopters before leading to the discovery of the downed plane and debris.

According to NBC affiliate WNBC, Beggs was the pilot of the Piper Malibu Mirage when it crashed.

Authorities also said the plane departed from Alfred S. Nader Regional Airport in Oneonta and was headed to West Virginia. There, the aircraft was planning to refuel and then fly out to Cobb County International Airport in Atlanta.

NYSP said that its Bureau of Criminal of Investigation, Collision Reconstruction Unit and Forensic Identification Unit "are working in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Board (NTSB) to determine the cause of the crash."

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp expressed his condolences to the families of the victims in a post shared via X on Monday, July 1. "As we learn of this tragic news, please join Marty, the girls, and me in praying for the loved ones of the Beggs and VanEpps families. We offer our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved them," he said.

Ansley Van Epps, an apparent relative of the victims who were on the flight, shared a Facebook post on the same day. “In the wake of a heartbreaking tragedy, we mourn the loss of our family. Yesterday, we received the devastating news that Ryan, Laura, James Ryan, Harrison Van Epps and Laura’s father Roger Beggs were involved in a fatal plane crash, and our hearts broken,” she wrote.

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"As we grapple with this unimaginable loss,” she continued, “let us come together to remember and celebrate the beautiful lives they lived. Their kindness, laughter, and love will forever be etched in our hearts."

“Please keep their loved ones and our family in your thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time,” Van Epps concluded. “May we find strength and solace in the memories and the outpouring of love from all who knew them.”

PEOPLE contacted Ansley Van Epps for further comment. 

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