Tragic Plane Crash Claims Lives of Five Georgia Family Members Returning from Baseball Tournament in New York

By Jul 2, 2024

Tragic Plane Crash Claims Lives

Tragic-A tragic event has unfolded in upstate New York, resulting in the deaths of five members of a Georgia family who were returning from a baseball tournament. According to a news release from the New York State Police, the victims were Roger Beggs, 76; Laura Van Epps, 43; Ryan Van Epps, 42; James R. Van Epps, 12; and Harrison Van Epps, 10. This devastating incident has left a community in mourning and raised questions about the circumstances leading to the crash.

Tragic-The Incident

Tragic-The family had been in Cooperstown, New York, known for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and popular youth baseball tournaments, which draw teams and families from across the country. The Van Epps family had participated in one such event, creating memories and enjoying time together in the iconic baseball town.

Tragic-Tragedy struck as they were on their way back to Georgia. At approximately 2 p.m. on Sunday, authorities received an alert about a potential plane crash. Emergency responders were immediately dispatched to the area around Lake Cecil Road in Masonville, a small town in Delaware County, New York. The details of the crash remain under investigation, but the initial response highlighted the severity of the situation.

Tragic-The Response

Tragic-Upon arrival at the crash site, first responders faced a harrowing scene. The wreckage of the plane was discovered in a wooded area, making access and recovery efforts challenging. Despite the rapid response, it was quickly determined that there were no survivors among the five family members on board.

Tragic-Local authorities, including the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police, coordinated efforts to secure the crash site and begin a thorough investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was also notified and has since taken the lead in investigating the cause of the crash.


Tragic-Community Impact

The loss of the Van Epps family has sent shockwaves through their hometown in Georgia and beyond. Friends, neighbors, and local organizations have expressed their grief and support for the surviving relatives and friends. Vigils and memorials are being organized to honor the lives lost and to provide a space for the community to come together in mourning.

Schools in the area have also been affected, particularly those attended by James and Harrison Van Epps. Counselors have been made available to students and staff to help them cope with the sudden and tragic loss of their classmates.

Investigation and Questions

As the NTSB begins its investigation, several key questions are being addressed. The focus will be on understanding what caused the plane to crash and whether any mechanical issues, weather conditions, or pilot errors played a role. The aircraft’s maintenance records, the pilot’s experience and health, and any communications made during the flight will be scrutinized to piece together the events leading up to the crash.

The family had been flying in a small private aircraft, a common choice for many who travel to and from Cooperstown for baseball tournaments. While private air travel can be convenient, it also comes with inherent risks that are now being closely examined in the wake of this tragedy.

The Legacy of the Van Epps Family

Roger Beggs, the patriarch of the family, was known in his community for his kindness and dedication to his family. His daughter, Laura Van Epps, and her husband, Ryan Van Epps, were both well-respected in their professional and personal circles. The young boys, James and Harrison, were described as vibrant and enthusiastic, with a passion for baseball that brought joy to those around them.

In the days following the crash, tributes have poured in from friends, colleagues, and community members who knew and loved the Van Epps family. Social media has been flooded with memories and messages of support, highlighting the impact the family had on those who knew them.

Moving Forward

In the face of such a profound loss, the community is coming together to support the surviving family members and honor the memories of those who perished. Fundraising efforts have been launched to assist with funeral expenses and to provide financial support to the family during this difficult time.

As the investigation continues, there will be a period of waiting for answers that may help bring some measure of closure to the grieving community. The findings of the NTSB will be crucial in understanding what went wrong and how similar tragedies might be prevented in the future.

Broader Implications

This tragedy also serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with private air travel. While statistically rare, plane crashes involving private aircraft often result in fatalities, given the smaller size and limited safety features compared to commercial airliners. This incident may prompt renewed discussions about safety regulations and measures that can be taken to improve the safety of private flights.


The sudden and tragic loss of the Van Epps family in a plane crash has left a deep void in the hearts of many. As investigators work to uncover the cause of the crash, the community is left to grapple with their grief and to support one another through this painful time. The memories of Roger Beggs, Laura Van Epps, Ryan Van Epps, James R. Van Epps, and Harrison Van Epps will live on in the hearts of those who knew them, serving as a poignant reminder of the preciousness of life and the enduring impact of love and community.

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