Geneva ER doctor killed in Barrington plane crash

Gwen Chamberlain
Dr. Michael Lippe, of Mahwah, N.J. died when this plane he was piloting crashed into a wooded area in Barrington on Dec. 22.

A doctor on his way from New Jersey to Penn Yan airport was killed Wednesday evening when his small airplane crashed in a wooded area on a Barrington hillside about a half mile from State Route 230.

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike reports Dr. Michael S. Lippe, 56, of Mahwah, N.J. was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by Dr. John Cooley, Yates County coroner.

In a statement released at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Spike wrote, "Preliminary investigation reveals that he (Lippe) left the Essex County Calwell Field at 6:39 p.m., scheduled to land at the Penn Yan Airport at 7:54 p.m."

Dr. Lippe was an Emergency Department doctor who was scheduled to work at Geneva General Hospital in Geneva.

Spike says the aircraft appears to have been on its flight plan and struck the tops of trees, forcing it down. As it descended it lost one wing and its front engine before striking trees head-on. He says the orginal fire that was originally reported by eye witnesses was from the fuel that had been inside the wing.

Spike says there was no fire at the site where the wrekage was located.

The damaged wooded area is about 100 yards long.

Spike says Yates County 911 dispatchers started receiving calls at 7:50 p.m. from area residents who believed that a plane had crashed and that they could see fire glow.

When deputies and Dundee Volunteer Fire Department vounteers arrived, no fire could be located. Deputies verified that Elmira Airport radar had indicated a plane was enroute to the Penn Yan Airport, but had not arrived and its last known location was entering Yates County.

A search of the area began at 8:25 p.m. and the wreckage of a Mooney M20 single engine aircraft was located.  Lippe's body was partially ejected and he sustained massive injuries, according to Spike.

There was freezing rain and sleet at the time of the accident.

Lippe's body was removed by Dundee Fire Department and transported by Sheriff's ATV unit from the remote area to the highway. The Dundee Ambulance transported the body to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital morgue for a cause of death exam and other toxicology tests required by the FAA.

The Yates County Sheriff's Department Aviation Response Team assisted with wreckage safety issues and completed preliminary investigation and photography.

The scene is secured and under guard of a Yates County Deputy until FAA investigators take over the scene. Others assisting at the scene were the Wayne Fire Department, Yates County Office of Emergency Management and EMS Coordinator and Medic 55.

Lippe is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and four daughters in Mahwah.

A statement about Lippe was released by Finger Lakes Health on Thursday.

It said:"Dr. Lippe had worked with Finger Lakes Health since September 2010 as a locum tenens physician, working shifts in our Emergency Department. He was a good doctor, who had regularly worked shifts over the past few months. He was respected and admired by colleagues. We are deeply saddened by the news and our thoughts and prayers are with his family today."