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Prominent businessmen Mark Croce and Michael Capriotto killed in PA helicopter crash

Mark Croce, developer of the Statler Towers and other area projects.
Eileen Buckley
Mark Croce, developer of the Statler Towers and other area projects.

Two prominent Buffalo-area businessmen were killed in a helicopter crash Thursday night.WBFO's Chris Caya reports

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department, Mark Croce, 58, was piloting the craft when it crashed into a backyard in Mechanicsburg, PA around 8:30 p.m. Croce and his passenger, Michael Capriotto, 63, of Orchard Park died in the crash.

The aircraft was headed to Buffalo from Washington, D.C., when the crash took place. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash. Officials say the helicopter did not hit any home or other structures and there were no other injuries.

“If there’s any good news to take from this, that’s it,” said Cumberland County Public Information Officer John Brutsch.

Condolences began pouring in Friday morning as local leaders learned of the crash.

Croce was best known for redeveloping Buffalo's Statler City, his luxury Curtiss Hotel and as the owner of restaurants like Buffalo Chophouse and D'Arcy McGee. He was a key developer for the Buffalo Public Schools' soon-to-be-opened Emerson culinary and hospitality complex and owned and operated thousands of downtown parking spaces through his company Pay2Park.

Capriotto owned Bauer Service, an automotive repair company with annual revenue of $7 million and 20 employees.

In addition to expressing condolences about Croce's death, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw shared more about Capriotto's accomplishments:

"Michael Capriotto, also of Orchard Park, was passionate about his community, as well. A businessman who invested in Orchard Park, he always said ‘yes’ and answered the call when people or charitable causes needed help. A former Village of Orchard Park Trustee, Mr. Capriotto was actively involved in supporting the Veterans Memorial Park in Orchard Park and had served on the board of Woodlawn Cemetery, among many worthy organizations.  He owned the Kwik Fill directly across from Orchard Park Town Hall. He was a well known businessman and philanthropist who always gave back to the community he loved.  Our hearts are heavy today with the loss of these two great men."

Croce is survived by his wife and two sons. Capriotto is survived by his wife and three children.

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