May 18, 2007

Air crash tragedy hits hard at Oshawa company

OSHAWA -- Three Durham men, two of them brothers, were killed when their small plane crashed in a wooded area in western New York Thursday morning.

Brothers Frank Grieco, 56, and Joseph Grieco, 59, managers of P.R. Engineering Ltd. in Oshawa, were on their way to Wilmington, Delaware on a business trip when their twin-propeller plane began experiencing engine troubles and crashed near Dunkirk, New York, around 9:30 a.m. Max Hudson, 55, of Pickering, who co-owned the plane with Joseph Grieco, also died.

The three men departed Oshawa airport shortly after 8 a.m. in the twin-engine Beech Baron aircraft. According to reports from Associated Press, the pilot of the plane reported problems with an engine and requested clearance to land at the airstrip in Dunkirk, a town on Lake Erie near Buffalo.

The plane overshot the runway and crashed in a wooded area, according to reports. All three men aboard died.

The tragedy has struck hard at P.R. Engineering, an Oshawa company that specializes in manufacturing and repairing rock crushers and other heavy machinery, as well as specialty welding.

"It's a very small family run business," said Jackie Fraser, who answered the phone at the company's Toronto Street premises Friday. "It's like a family."

P.R. Engineering employs about 35 people, Ms. Fraser said. The Grieco brothers -- Frank lived in Whitby, Joseph in Oshawa -- were vice presidents of the firm.

Relatives of the victims aren't commenting and Ms. Fraser said all that's known about the crash is what has been released by the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the accident.

Ms. Fraser said the three men were on their way to Delaware on business when the crash occurred. She said she didn't know who was flying the plane.


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