Colgate University is mourning after two students from Ridgefield, Connecticut, died when their small plane crashed in Morrisville, New York, on Sunday afternoon, according to the liberal arts college.
Cathryn "Carey" Depuy and Ryan Adams, both 18-year-old freshman at Colgate, were killed when the plane they were riding in crashed after taking off from Hamilton Municipal Airport.
Depuy was at the controls of the single-engine Cessna 150 when the pair left the airport at about 1 p.m., the Associated Press reported.
Federal aviation safety officials are investigating.
Records show Depuy held a student pilot license issued in October 2013.
On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration said she had also qualified for a pilot license, which hadn't been reflected in their database of pilot records. The agency would not release the date of the license, but a relative said it was in August.
John Goetz, who coached Depuy's cross-country team at Ridgefield High School, said he often spoke with her about flying because he was struck by her achieving a pilot's license at such a young age.
"I was fascinated by the fact a high school kid was going out and getting her license," Goetz said, adding that they had talked about Depuy taking him up in a plane last winter, though it never happened.
Depuy had a black belt in martial arts and ran cross-country to train for lacrosse, Goetz said. In cross-country, her teammates selected her as one of the captains.
"She had a great personality," Goetz said. "She's one of these very happy, always smiling, kidding-around-type people. Even when bad things were happening to her, she would still have a smile."
Adams graduated in June 2015 from St. Luke's School in New Canaan, Connecticut, where he was honored as a St. Luke's STEM Scholar and won a school award for an economics paper, according to school officials.
Adams also played on the varsity squash and golf teams, became an Eagle Scout at the age of 13, served as vice president of St. Luke's Investment Club and president of the "Support Our Soldiers" chapter at St. Luke's, school officials said.
"Words can't express the depth of this tragedy and of course the pain it has inflicted on Ryan's family and friends," head of school Mark Davis said in a statement, adding that Adams was "one of the finest young men I have ever had the pleasure to know."
The school said Ryan became an Eagle Scout by the age of 13 and was vice president of the St. Luke's Investment Club and president of its chapter of Support Our Soldiers.
Counselors will be available for students, faculty and staff affected by the news. Some campus events will be postponed or canceled and a community vigil will be held at the Colgate Memorial Chapel at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
The only FAA record of an accident involving the plane that crashed was from 1980, when it veered into a snowbank because the pilot lost control on takeoff, possibly because of a frozen wheel.