Friends from WNY die in Va. plane crash

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Three men with ties to western New York died in a plane crash in Norfolk, Virginia Wednesday morning.

Michael Buxton, of Virginia Beach, was the pilot on the flight. Buxton’s passengers were William M. Shaver, 60, of Holland, and Ted Reinhardt, 62, of Tonawanda.

Bill Litz says he was always in awe watching Reinhardt play drums for the local band Gamalon, and before that Spyro Gyra. “You couldn’t believe that one person could make that kind of sound. and au when he was done, he was just a big Teddy Bear, big amiable guy. He was everybody’s friend and a master at his craft.”

Reinhardt was one of three life long friends killed in a Virginia plane crash Wednesday morning. They had just spent days sailing together in the Florida Keys. Bill Shaver of the Town of Holland had told his son he had a great time. It was a last hurrah and a relief from years of suffering severe back pain for the retired property manager. His son tells me “My Dad was a warrior and went out in his blaze of glory. Toughest guy I’ve ever met”

The pilot was 61 year old Michael Buxton, a Canisius College grad who became a child psychologist in Virginia.

“He was always there to talk with us and help us through things, and I just loved him dearly, I miss him” said Buxton’s friend Sean Devlin.

Investigators are still trying to figure out why the four seater plane clipped a tree and went down not far from Norfolk International Airport.

Reinhardt was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 1985 as a rock and fusion drummer. His band, Gamalon was also inducted in 2002.

Shaver’s son remembered him Thursday, saying, ” Always put others before himself and lived for his family. He has made an impact on everyone he met, if even just one time.”

MORE | Learn more about Michael Buxton here

MORE | Learn more about Ted Reinhardt here

Air traffic controllers diverted the plane from the Suffolk Airport, over to Norfolk because of weather. Virginia Police said the plane lost communication with the airport around 4:30 a.m.

Afterwards several agencies, including the FAA and U.S. Coast Guard, searched for the missing plane. They found it three hours later at Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

va crasPhotos | Crash scene at Norfolk Botanical Garden

The owner of the plane, Jim Beauchamp, told he doesn’t think there was a mechanical failure on the plane, because just two weeks ago he and the pilot had done in-flight checks at Norfolk International Airport. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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