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Community left with questions after Maine construction titans die in plane crash

The crash occurred in the area of Sam's Road near Route 1 at 2:11 p.m. Wednesday.

ARUNDEL, Maine — Two titans of Maine's construction industry died when their plane flew into the woods near route one in Arundel.

A news release from the York County Sheriff's Office stated a single-engine Beechcraft airplane crashed in the woods just north of Sam's Road, a dead-end street that abuts route one, at 2:11 p.m.

Eldon Morrison, 81, of Yarmouth, was piloting the plane, and his passenger was Paul Koziell, 55, of Scarborough. Both were killed upon impact, deputies said. 

Arundel Ford is across the street from Sam's Road. Kalum Doyon, inventory specialist at the dealership, is used to hearing mechanics on the other side of the sales room back wall. But, on Wednesday afternoon, it was the front wall that shook.

"Normally, we hear noises in the sales room, coming from the shop – you know, noises coming from the mechanics working on vehicles, banging on things," he explained. "I felt this thud and heard it. My little cabinet next to my desk, it shook, and the whole place just went, 'thump.'"

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting the investigation. Brian Raynor, a senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, met with reporters early Thursday evening and said Morrison had 2,000 hours of flight experience, with 900 hours spent piloting the specific make and model that crashed.

He said his only priorities for the time being were to remove the plane from the woods — on Friday, he hopes — and to collect as much data from the crash as possible. Conclusions could take many months after.

The plane had flown out of both Biddeford and Presque Isle on Wednesday prior to the crash. Raynor said it was on final approach to Biddeford and traveling at approximately 60 knots (69 mph) when it went down. It's owned by CPM Construction.

Morrison founded CPM Constructors in Freeport, and Koziell was the current president of the company. Kelly Flagg, executive director of the Associated General Contractors of Maine, released the following statement Thursday:

“Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the entire team at CPM Constructors. Eldon and Paul have been strong advocates for the construction industry and this loss will be felt by many people across the state. Both volunteered time over many years to support future skilled workers through our education foundation and for that we will always be grateful. While everyone is mourning, the family has made it clear they will continue operating as Eldon and Paul would have wanted.”

The Maine Better Transportation Association also issued the following statement:

"The Maine Better Transportation Association Board of Directors, staff and membership are mourning the passing of two transportation greats: Eldon Morrison and Paul Koziell, both of whom were amazing in their own right. Eldon was a visionary business owner who founded CPM Constructors, a firm that has made a mark in Maine and beyond."

Paul, who most recently served as president of CPM Constructors, is MBTA’s former board president and long-time board member. He was passionate about welcoming young people to the transportation industry.

"Under their guidance, CPM built some of the most iconic bridges throughout Maine including the Cribstone, Martins Point and Beals Island Bridge, along with marine work such as installing the foundation for a tidal energy project in Eastport, and railroad work in Aroostook County.

"They also made our communities stronger, and their legacy will be as much for the opportunities they created through their support of scholarships and for the willingness to share their time, talents, and wisdom with others."

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