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The plane crashed 40 years ago; now its Minnesota pilot is getting a memorial

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Family members of a Minnesota pilot whose plane went down in a New York state park in 1974 are heading to the site this weekend.

A memorial plaque and garden will be dedicated Saturday at the site near Stony Point, where a Northwest Airlines 727 flown by Capt. John Lagorio and two other crew members crashed, the North Rockland Daily Voice reports.

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The charter flight had left New York's Kennedy Airport on Dec. 1 to pick up the Baltimore Colts football team after their game in Buffalo. So its only occupants were Lagorio, a 35-year-old from Edina, and his first and second officers, both of whom were from Seattle.

The National Transportation Safety Board later concluded in its accident report that the airplane's speed indicator had iced up, leading the crew to slow down until the plane went into a spin and fell to the ground in Harriman State Park.

Scott Salotto, who often hikes through the area, tells Lohud.com that pieces of wreckage are still there. But nothing else is ... no plaque or memorial to mark the site where the plane's three crew members lost their lives.

Salotto, who works in the Rockland County executive's office set about changing that. And on Saturday a plaque and garden for the victims of the crash will be dedicated.

He told Lohud that when the crew members' families learned of the plan, "they were shocked that somebody remembered and somebody wanted to honor them."

Capt. Lagorio's widow, Catherine Christensen, told the site "There aren't words to express how I feel about it."

Christensen says she and Lagorio's two sons – both of them pilots – will be joined by other family members and friends for Saturday's event.

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