Gov. Cuomo honors plane crash rescuers

The forest rangers and local emergency personnel who were involved with the rescue of the three New Jersey men who crashed in a plane on Thursday, Feb. 21 were honored by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens in Albany Wednesday.

“Last week’s rescue of three plane crash survivors is just the latest example of how vital our forest rangers are at protecting New Yorkers and the millions of people who visit New York state,” Martens said in an audio recording provided to the media. “They are a specially trained group, and they are very special men and women.”

Martens pointed out that the men have been involved in numerous rescues in recent years.

“They are no stranger to crisis and emergencies,” he said. “Just since I’ve started at DEC we’ve had spring floods, record floods in the spring of 2011, followed by Hurricane Irene, followed by Tropical Storm Lee, followed by Superstorm Sandy,” Martens said. “And the rangers in each one of those events have performed extraordinarily.”

Cuomo praised the men for saving the lives of 54-year-old Michael Oster, 58-year-old Jeff O’Connor, and 51-year-old Frank Dombroski, all of Westfield, N.J.

“Congratulations to all of you,” Cuomo said. “We are so proud of what you’ve done. It is a story of tremendous skill and expertise. That is tough terrain up there, and your ability, your skill, your professionalism to be able to accomplish what you did, to be able to track that plane, to be able to make that hike, that is extraordinary.”

Members of the Lake Placid Fire Department and state police were also honored.