Victims of last week’s airplane crash in Paulding County were pilot Dr. Michael McCarty (left) and Wayne and Rosalee Weiss. All were from Grand Island, Nebraska.
Victims of last week’s airplane crash in Paulding County were pilot Dr. Michael McCarty (left) and Wayne and Rosalee Weiss. All were from Grand Island, Nebraska.

Feature Writer

Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers said during an exclusive interview on Monday morning that crew members of the airplane that went down in Paulding County on Thursday night were well-respected by their families and communities.

Landers said that Dr. Michael McCarty, a well-known orthopedic and hand surgeon in the Grand Island, Nebraska area, was flying from that city to the New Jersey-New York city area to visit with a daughter who is making wedding plans.

Longtime friends Wayne and Rosalee Weiss, also of Grand Island, were traveling with McCarty to enjoy a vacation time in New York City. They were going to land in New Jersey and then take a train into the city.

When the family didn’t arrive in New Jersey when they were supposed to, family members started searching along the projected flight path, including in the Paulding County area.

“They found us before we found them,” said Landers. “They were originally projected to stay in the Findlay area overnight. Family members knew that so they started searching for possible plane crashes in this area.”

Once the family connected with the local sheriff’s office, Landers connected immediately with Bryan Bydalek, son-in-law of the Weiss family.

“We talked to each other all weekend and he filled me in on various things about the family,” said Landers. “They are obviously such nice people. They thanked us over and over for all that we were doing in the recovery.”

Landers said that Bydalek had directed him to information from their standpoint in the Grand Island media that was extremely helpful to him.

Landers said that Bydalek told him that McCarty and his sister, Kim, were office partners and that Wayne and Rosalee’s daughter was the office manager.

Weiss had served the United States in the U.S. Air Force, including work as a flight instructor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He had been the one who had taught McCarty how to fly.

McCarty specialized in orthopedic and hand surgery at Central Nebraska Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. McCarty had been practicing medicine for 34 years.

Bydalek said that he had married the Weiss’s daughter, Patty, in 1995.

“Wayne and Rosalee were the kind of people that were always there for family and friends,” said Bydalek. “They were all about togetherness and family. This is just devastating.

“The one thing that is keeping our family together right now is the fact that they died together and they were doing what Wayne loved to do,” Bydalek said.

McCarty’s sister, Kim Gangwish, said that her brother would have never attempted to make a long trip without Wayne.

“Mike was really supportive to me, my kids, his own children, other people’s children,” said Gangwish over a Nebraska television station interview. “He went to Haiti and donated his time and those were the things he liked to do – he was a giver, not a receiver, and he died doing what he did love to do though – flying the plane.”

“The family expressed a real level of professionalism,” said Landers. “I told them that we like to deal with tragic situations like this face to face, but it was impossible in this situation. They were very understanding and appreciative.”

– Additional reporting courtesy of The Grand Island Independent, Grand Island, Neb.