LAKE PLACID -- People are deeply saddened by the loss of two young people, by all accounts vibrant and beloved members of this community.

The young men were found dead Friday afternoon, apparently ejected when the car they were in went off Route 73, crashing over a steep bank and coming to rest hidden under a bridge spanning the Ausable River.

Police are still working to figure out what happened.

Both had been missing for a day or longer, which had raised concern among friends and co-workers who had for a few days repeatedly tried to find them.

At age 23, both Henry "Phil" Wharton and Aaron M. Greene were well-known young adults who lived and worked in Lake Placid; two big parts of what is a tight-knit community of young people starting out in life.

Close friends have expressed too much grief to comment.

Greene, a recent graduate of Lake Placid High School, worked at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg bobsled run driving public visitors through the course.

"Aaron was just a great guy, a big gentle kid, everybody's friend," said Tony Carlino, general manager of the bobsled complex.

Carlino's daughter grew up with Greene and had been close friends with him since sixth grade.

Opening the venue Saturday was very difficult, Carlino said, since a core group of about 12 young adults employed at the bobsled run ­-- all very close ­-- were trying to make sense out of a terrible and tragic loss.

"I'm glad they're here today; they don't want to be alone.

"Aaron worked in our bobsled ride program, driving people down the hill and braking. He was one of the favorites with the public," Carlino said. "He was a dedicated young man, a good son and brother and friend. He was always wonderful to adults, very respectful. It's a great loss."

Greene's brother, Brad, is a member of the Lake Placid Fire Department, which is also hard hit and continues to offer support to their comrade.

Wharton worked on Main Street, most recently at Charlie's restaurant.

Managers and staff were extremely overcome and in tears trying to come to terms with the awful news Saturday.

Teresa, a manager for the restaurant, said Wharton was someone people always felt comfortable with.

"He definitely was very highly thought of by his co-workers. You just instantaneously liked him. He had a good soul. This is going to be a big loss here."

Wharton had moved to Lake Placid from Rhode Island several years ago. He also worked at Adirondack Steak and Seafood on Main Street.

Wharton was engaged to his Lake Placid sweetheart in July.

But Teresa, like Carlino, offered comfort to families and friends of the young men left reeling.

They expressed hope that people would keep fond memories in their hearts and remember the young men for who they were.

"This is very hard on all of us," Carlino said.

Memorial and funeral arrangements have not been announced.

State Police said Saturday afternoon that autopsies were being performed to assist the investigation in determining when the accident may have occurred, though they indicated that excessive speed was a contributing factor in the crash. Toxicology analysis will be performed at a later time.

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