A Massachusetts community is heartbroken after an 18-year-old high school student was killed while taking a flight lesson Saturday.
Julian Lattermann, of Dover, was on board a single-engine airplane with instructor Sydney Miti, 31, of Waltham, when it crashed nose-first into the ground at Mansfield Municipal Airport.
Lattermann was a senior at Dover Sherborn Regional High School.
“He was by all accounts a kind and talented young man with a passion for aviation,” the superintendent said in a statement. “His future was extremely bright. Our hearts go out to his family and we ask that all respect their privacy during this unimaginably painful time.”
The high school was open Sunday afternoon for friends and staff to gather.
Counseling will be available to all in need throughout the week.
Mansfield police say Lattermann and Miti were both killed upon impact.
An initial investigation shows Miti was giving Lattermann a lesson aboard a 2002 Cessna 172S aircraft on Saturday. It was in the Mansfield area after having taken off from the Norwood Airport around 11:26 a.m.
The Mansfield Police Department communications center received multiple 911 calls reporting the accident around 12:30 p.m. When emergency crews responded, they found the plane had crashed into the ground at runway 4, the turf landing strip located on the north side of the airport adjacent to Fruit Street.
Police say a radio transmission from the aircraft indicated a missed approach as it maneuvered away from Mansfield runway 32. Moments later, the Cessna flew past the Municipal Airport administration building and crashed into the turf landing area.
The FAA is investigating, and the NTSB will determine the probable cause of the crash.
Mansfield and Massachusetts State Police detectives are assisting in the investigation.
The aircraft was owned and operated by Horizon Aviation, of Norwood. The company declined to comment Saturday night.