PEMBROKE, N.Y. — Attorney Steve Barnes and his niece, Elizabeth Barnes, have died after a small plane crash in Genesee County on Friday.


An attorney for Ross Cellino, Terry Connors, confirmed the plane is registered to Barnes of the Cellino & Barnes law firm. Connors also said Barnes was a licensed pilot. 

The Barnes Firm issused a statement on Friday:

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that we acknowledge the loss of Steve Barnes and his niece Elizabeth Barnes following a tragic accident earlier today.

Steve was a friend, colleague, partner, and mentor to so many people across our firm, in New York, California, and beyond. He was a legal industry giant, proud Marine, and loving father.

Steve and Elizabeth will be sorely missed by many.

Our utmost condolences go out to his family and closest loved ones during this very difficult and unfortunate time."

The Genesee County Sheriff confirmed that a male and a female were the only two people on board and there were no survivors. The sheriff says the Socata TBM 700 aircraft left Manchester, New Hampshire Friday morning and was on its way to Buffalo. 

Cellino also issued a statement Friday evening:

"It is with great sadness that I learned of the tragic passing of Steve Barnes in a plane crash.  Steve and I worked together for many years at our firm.  He was always a fearless advocate for his clients.  His passing is a significant loss for the legal community.  Steve’s greatest accomplishment was his three children Josiah, Rachel, and Julia.  Steve is survived by his longtime partner, Ellen Sturm, also an attorney at our firm. 

Equally heartbreaking is the passing of Elizabeth Barnes, sister of Brian Barnes and daughter of Rich Barnes, Steve’s brother and an attorney at our firm. 

All of us at Cellino and Barnes are deeply saddened.  My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Barnes family during this difficult time."

The plane went down in the area of Boyce Road in the town of Pembroke, near the village of Corfu.

Neighbors say they heard a winding noise this morning before the crash. 

"It's a wooded area. It's very wooded. There are some swampy areas but the actual location where the aircraft came down, it's relatively dry. But it's surrounded in areas by water," said Sheriff William Sheron.

Sheron says the plane basically disintegrated and they’re investigating a very large debris field off New York Route 33.

Olivia Metz lives not too far from the scene.

“All of a sudden, we just heard this big boom, felt it," Metz said. "Felt like nothing you would ever experience. And then my mom yelled and I ran down the stairs and we looked out our window and there was this big plume of smoke and we didn’t see the plane go down but we just felt it and saw the smoke.

She says it’s surreal something like this happened in her community.

“You see it on the news or it happening somewhere else but when it happens to you, it doesn’t really feel real,” she said.

The FAA has been investigating the crash at the scene. The NTSB is expected to arrive on Saturday.

Sheriff Sheron says the investigation could take a while.