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Last surviving responder to 1963 Mohawk Airlines crash has died

Jun 28, 2020

Dick Ziegler
Credit provided photo

Dick Ziegler, believed to be the last surviving responder to what has been described as the deadliest airliner crash in local aviation history, has died.

News of his death came from the Rochester Airport Firefighters Associationwhich said that Ziegler, a retired Monroe County employee and longtime volunteer firefighter in the Spencerport Fire District, died on Saturday in the company of his wife and children. He was 83.

Ziegler was a Spencerport volunteer firefighter since 1962 and the firefighters association said that when the alarm sounded for the crash of a Mohawk Airlines Martin 404 plane at the aiport on a stormy July 2, 1963, Zigler was among the first who raced to the scene.

The crash, which happend during a thunderstorm,  killed 7 people and injured 36 others.

A statement from the firefighters association said that Ziegler is credited with saving at least 12 people at the scene of the crashand that when he got into the airplane, Ziegler grabbed hold of every person he saw and pulled them to the door.

A photo from the July 1963 Mohawk Airlines crash at the Rochester Airport
Credit provided photo

The Spencerport Fire District said on its Facebook page that Ziegler was the oldest active member of SFD, recently serving on the Fire Police Squad. The fire district said that Ziegler, “gave an incredible amount of time and devotion to SFD for the past 58 years. If you've ever visited the Cotton Candy booth at our Carnival, then you have met Dick. We ask that you keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”