Service for FAU students, staff killed in plane crash

Reporter: Alex Zequiera

It will be somber day for many at Florida Atlantic University as friends, faculty and classmates remember the two students and one staff member who died after their plane crashed in Martin County nearly two weeks ago.

At 11 a.m. Monday, a ceremony commemorating graduate students Damion Marx and Philip Heidemann along with university lab technician, Gareth Akerman, will be held on FAU grounds.

During the ceremony, school officials will announce the creation of four memorial scholarships in honor of the three men. Three of the scholarships will be named after each of the men and dedicated to environmental studies; the other will be for a teachers' assistantship at the Charles Schmidt College of Science.

The men were conducting a survey of migratory birds nesting around Lake Okeechobee on March 13 when their plane went down. The cause of the accident is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, but, according to a preliminary report issued by investigators, the plane was too low, too slow and overloaded. In fact, the single engine Cessna was carrying almost 1,150 pounds when it was only designed to carry just over 800.