VIRGINIA

James Duncan, Paul Gardella ID'd as victims of Fauquier plane crash

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Authorities have identified the two men who were killed in a mid-air plane crash in Fauquier County over the Memorial Day weekend.

James Michael Duncan (Photo: NASA)

The victims are identified as Paul Gardella, Jr., 57, of Burke, Va. and James M. Duncan, 60, of Bethesda.

Duncan was the pilot of the plane. He works for National Transportation Safety Board. 

Duncan had provided support in the field of space medicine for NASA space shuttle and international space station astronauts.

He was also one of the lead flight surgeons who supported the first landing by American astronauts in a Soyuz vehicle in Kazakhstan for Expedition 6 in May 2003.

He was also the lead for NASA’s team that helped the Chilean miners who were trapped in a mine in Copiapo, Chile, in 2010.

NASA released a statement, saying the community was saddened by Duncan’s passing.

“Dr. Duncan exemplified NASA's commitment to bring spaceflight experience back down to the ground and utilize it for people here on Earth,” NASA stated. “Our condolences go out to his family at this difficult time."

The mid-air collision involved a Piper PA-28 and a Beech Bonanza near Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Virginia.

The pilot of the PA-28, 70-year-old Thomas R. Proven, of Broad Run, was transported to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, where he was still being treated on Tuesday afternoon.

Proven is an inspector with the FAA.

Canadian officials are taking over the investigation into a deadly Memorial Day mid-air collision because the planes involved were owned by federal aviation and transportation employees, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

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