Small plane crash kills 5 Georgia family members en route home from Cooperstown baseball tournament

Piper Malibu Mirage is taxiing at the airport Saint Gallen Altenrhein in Switzerland 10.7.2020

New York State police confirmed on Monday that five members from the same metro-Atlanta family died in a plane crash on their way home from a baseball tournament in upstate New York. The family members were returning from a baseball tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

New York State Police responded to a plane crash in Masonville, New York (90 miles south of Syracuse, N.Y.) on Sunday afternoon at approximately 2 p.m., and found the bodies of five occupants in the wreckage of a Piper Malibu Mirage.  The plane had departed from Albert S. Nader Regional Airport in Oneonta and was headed to Charleston, W.Va., for refueling and was schedule to continue from there to Cobb County International Airport in Georgia.

New York State police said in a statement: “A multi-agency effort search of the area, with the utilization of drones, ATVs and helicopters, led to the discovery of debris and ultimately to the downed aircraft.” Search teams found the bodies of five passengers in the wreckage.

Police later identified the victims as family members who hailed from Georgia: 76-year-old Roger Beggs (assumed to be the pilot), 43-year-old Laura Van Epps, 42-year-old Ryan Van Epps, 12-year-old James R. Van Epps and 10-year-old Harrison Van Epps. According to records obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the family lived in Alpharetta, GA.

NYSP has not said what caused the plane to crash; Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wrote in a statement: “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,”

The New York State Police Bureau of Criminal of Investigation, Collision Reconstruction Unit, and Forensic Identification Unit are working with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Board to determine the cause of the crash.

Editorial credit: Robert Buchel /

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