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Two UMaine Students and an Alumnus Reported Killed in Friday Plane Crash

Two University of Maine students and a 2011 alumnus were reported killed in a crash of a single-engine plane Nov. 16 at the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head, Maine.

All three were members of the UMaine chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha, according to fraternity members.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the investigation, says DNA test results to officially confirm the identities of the victims are not expected until Wednesday.

The students reported to have been killed, according to the fraternity members, are: David Cheney, 22, of Beverly, Mass., a business major and president of Lambda Chi Alpha; and Marcelo Rugini, 24, a foreign exchange student who lived in Nobleboro, Maine, and was from Muliterno, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He was an economics major at UMaine.

Also reported killed was William “B.J.” Hannigan III, 24, of South Portland, Maine, who graduated from UMaine in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

“Friday night, the University of Maine community lost three outstanding young men,” says University of Maine President Paul W. Ferguson. “In their leadership and involvement in the UMaine community, they touched the lives of students, faculty and staff. At this difficult time, our thoughts are with their families and friends, near and far.”

News reports indicate that the Cessna 172 was taking off when it struck a pickup truck driving across the runway. The plane crashed into a wooded area at approximately 5 p.m. Friday.

“UMaine’s Greek and international student communities are mourning the loss of three of their own, but they are not alone in their grief,” says Robert Dana, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “Losing these three young men —David, Marcelo and B.J. — is a loss for the entire UMaine community and the many people — including faculty and staff — whose lives they touched. They brought great light and energy to our campus, and we will miss them. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.”

Any student affected by this event who would like an opportunity to talk with someone can contact the UMaine Counseling Center, 581.1392. Faculty and staff with similar concerns can contact the Employee Assistance Program, 581.4014.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745 or 207.949.4149

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