BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Western New Yorkers are still mourning the loss of prominent developer Mark Croce.

He died in a helicopter crash with Orchard Park businessman Michael Capriotto last week.

Those who knew him tell News 4 Croce had a passion for flying and always made safety his main priority.

“I haven’t, as an adult, cried since my father passed away a number of years ago. But with Mark I did,” said certified flight instructor Bob Miller.

Miller said he was in disbelief when he heard the news that his good friend, Mark Croce, died in a helicopter crash last week in central Pennsylvania.

“Knowing Mark and his propensity for safety it just did not make sense, it did not compute.”

Miller says Croce loved to fly and had been doing it for more than a decade.

“In fact, the reason for the flight, the fatal flight he was on, was to go look at a helicopter he was interested in purchasing.”

And was one of the most cautious pilots he knew.

“Obviously I’m a bit biased because I gave him a lot of instruction but Mark was a very careful, cautious pilot. Safety was job one in everything he did,” Miller said.

In the coming weeks, the National Transportation Safety Board will release its preliminary report on the fatal crash.

Miller added, “One page just the facts – type aircraft, location of the crash, number of fatalities, just bare-bones description of what happened. Then within one year, they come out with what’s called a probable cause report – a much lengthier report – that gives the actual probable cause of the accident.”

A funeral mass for Croce will be held this Saturday for family and close friends only.