Three days after a plane crash claimed the lives of two Farmingdale State aviation students, the wreck’s lone survivor joined his classmates Saturday at the school’s 93rd commencement ceremony.
Evan Kisseloff, 21, of Oceanside, survived a Wednesday night crash in Sterling, Pa. The plane reportedly stalled on takeoff from Spring Hill Airport – bound for Republic Airport – and crashed.
Patrick Sheridan, 34, of Long Beach, and Casey Falconer, 19, of Garden City Park, died in the accident. The school remembered the two with a moment of silence, led by Brian Maher, Director of the Long Island Educational Opportunity Center, who gave the invocation.
“Our hearts are heavy and are spirits are saddened as we face this tragedy together,” Maher said.
Amazingly Kisseloff, who was largely unharmed from the crash, marched with an estimated 600 fellow Farmingdale State students Saturday at Nold Hall. Kisseloff received a Bachelor of Science with honors in Aviation Administration.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a very long time,” Kisseloff said. “I remember being in the emergency room asking the doctor, ‘Am I going to be able to walk on Saturday?’”
Flanked by his parents, Alan and Nancy, and siblings, Jared and Brittany, Kisseloff recounted the fateful flight from just days earlier.
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Sheridan owned the single-engine plane, which the trio took on a day trip from East Farmingdale to Lancaster, Pa. and then on to Spring Hill Airport to meet Falconer’s parents for dinner.
They all hugged Falconer’s mother, shook his father’s hand and said their goodbyes at the airport, Kisseloff said.
No more than three minutes after takeoff, according to Kisseloff, the stall alarm went off. Then a wing clipped a tree and the plane hit the ground.
“The first thing that came to my mind after impact was, ‘This is not how it’s going to end for me. This can’t be it,’” Kisseloff said.
Kisseloff, who suffered a cracked left rib and stitches in a heavily bandaged right hand, said he managed to escape through the rear passenger window before the plane burst into flames.
On Saturday, he donned a graduation robe and cap and took his place unassumingly in the procession.
“We’re very proud he accomplished what he accomplished,” said dad, Alan Kisseloff, who came up from Ormond Beach, Fla. to be at graduation. “Our hearts go out to the Falconers and Sheridans. No parent should ever have to suffer this kind of loss.”