YATES, N.Y. - A New York fertility doctor who was accused of using his own sperm to impregnate several patients died over the weekend when the hand-built airplane he was in fell apart mid-flight and crashed, authorities said.
Dr. Morris Wortman, 72, of Rochester, was a passenger in the experimental aircraft that went down Sunday in a pasture in Orleans County. The pilot, Earl Luce Jr., of Brockport, also was killed, according to the county sheriff.
The crash of the aircraft, identified by the National Transportation Safety Board as a Wittman W-5 Buttercup airplane, remained under investigation Tuesday.
Preliminary findings indicate that "the wings of the aircraft became detached from the fuselage and fell to the ground in an orchard," Sheriff Christopher Bourke said in a news release Monday. The fuselage continued west for another 1,000 to 1,500 yards before crashing.
Wortman was a well-known OB-GYN in western New York who was often the target of anti-abortion protesters. He was sued in 2021 by the daughter of one of his patients, who became pregnant in the 1980s. The lawsuit said the doctor secretly used his own sperm while telling the patient the donor had been a local medical student. It said the doctor kept the secret even after the daughter, his biological offspring, became his gynecology patient.
The daughter discovered that Wortman was the donor after DNA genealogy tests revealed she had at least nine half-siblings, her medical malpractice suit said. The civil lawsuit, which is pending in Monroe County Court, said follow-up DNA testing with Wortman’s daughter from his first marriage confirmed the genetic link.
Wortman did not comment at the time the lawsuit was filed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.