Three days after cheating death in a small plane crash in Pennsylvania that killed two of his college buddies, Evan Kisseloff graduated with honors with a degree in Aviation Administration from Farmingdale State College.
An electronic sign at the entrance to the campus displayed a message honoring the memories of the victims, Patrick Sheridan, 34, of Long Beach, and Casey Falconer, 19, of Garden City. Both were undergraduates at the school, studying in the professional pilots program.
During the somber ceremony, Brian Maher, Director of the Long Island Educational Opportunity Center, lead the college in a moment of silence. "I am very thankful to be here, and I know Patrick and Casey are watching me up there, and cheering me on," said Kisseloff, 21, of Oceanside, at a press conference following the commencement.
Alan and Nancy Kisseloff, showered their bandaged son with hugs and kisses. "We're heartbroken, but we're thankful," said an emotional Nancy Kisseloff.
This past Wednesday, Kisseloff, Sheridan and Falconer enjoyed a trip to Lancaster and the Poconos, where they had dinner with Falconer's parents. That night they left for Farmingdale's Republic Airport. Sheridan was in the pilot's seat when shortly after takeoff, the single engine plane stalled and crashed about ¼ of a mile off the runway at Spring Hill Airport in Sterling.
"When the left wing of the plane hit a tree, I said 'I got to be ready,' and luckily I was. I managed to get out the back window, and I did scream to them to get out. Unfortunately, there was no response," said Kisseloff.
The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times