Octorara school president killed in plane crash in W. Caln

Sam Ganow

The President of the Octorara Area School District, Sam Ganow, was killed Thursday when his the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff from Chester County Airport.

Ganow, 65, a long-time member of the OASD board, died when the Grumman GA-7 Cougar twin-engine plane he was flying crashed two minutes after takeoff in a wooded area in West Caln, near Old Wilmington Road. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to be on site Friday to investigate the incident.

Dr. Steven Leever, OASD Superintendent, announced Ganow’s death on the district’s Website and issued the following statement:

“It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that we share with you the news of the tragic passing of our School Board President, Mr. Sam Ganow. Earlier today, we learned that Sam lost his life in a plane crash in Coatesville, leaving us with a deep sense of loss and grief.

“Mr. Ganow was not only a dedicated member of the Octorara Area School District School Board but also a cherished and respected member of our community. Mr. Ganow served the Octorara community as a school board member for 26 years. His commitment to education and his tireless efforts to enhance the educational experience for our students made a lasting impact on our school district.

“Personally, Sam was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather, active member of his local church community and the  owner of an equipment rental business for decades. For years he has also been deeply committed to the international skiing circuit, serving as a judge for hundreds of ski events all around the US and the world. He also competed in multiple marathon races annually, most recently completing the Disney Marathon weekend in January. Sam’s loss will be felt across a number of communities.

“During this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Sam’s family. We extend our deepest condolences to them, and we ask that you join us in offering support and comfort to one another as we navigate through this tragedy together.

“Details regarding memorial services and ways to express condolences will be shared with the community in the coming days. In the meantime, counselors and support services will be available at our schools for students and staff who may need assistance in coping with this loss.”

The twin-engine plane involved had recently been featured on the YouTube video series, Rebuild Rescue. The hosts of the show overhauled the 45-year old plane with the hopes of reselling it and returning it to flight service. As part of the work on the plane, it received engine overhauls, new propellers and new avionics. A three-week old video shows the rehab process and the plane being flown in to Chester County Airport last month.

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