North Dakota man killed in Buckeye glider crash

Posted at 3:47 PM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 19:40:19-05

Authorities say a North Dakota man is dead after a powered hang glider crashed while taking off from an airport in the Phoenix area.

Buckeye police say the only person aboard the aircraft when it crashed Tuesday afternoon at Buckeye Municipal Airport was the pilot, 55-year-old James George III of West Fargo, North Dakota, who was killed.

Police say the cause of the crash isn't immediately known and that federal agencies are investigating.

Police say the hang glider belonged to a Buckeye resident.

Buckeye Airport Coordinator John McMahon had just talked to the victim two hours before he died.

"Just talked to him at lunch and just to hear about his experience and about what he'd done in the past, and then to realize later on that he had been in an accident, it was difficult to see, ok, what--how is his family going to feel," McMahon said.

His job is to manage the airport, so he comes in contact with people landing on the runway every day. 

"I would say everybody was familiar with the aircraft, and knowing what happened is just a sobering thought, recognizing that could happen to any of us," McMahon said

George and a passenger were seriously injured in 2005 when a single-engine plane he was piloting crashed in Fargo, North Dakota, after it lost power shortly after takeoff.

Investigators determined that a mechanic had improperly installed an oil filter on the plane, causing a large oil leak.