Additional details into the investigation of a plane crash in Akron Tuesday were released by the NTSB Wednesday afternoon.
- First victim identified as Diane Smoot of Florida
- Plane took off from Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Miami Twp.
- Jet clipped power lines and crashed into apartment building
UPDATE @ 4:52 p.m.:
Our news partners WCPO are reporting its sister station WPTV in Florida has confirmed the death of Thomas Virgin in Tuesday’s plane crash in Akron. The victim was identified to the Florida TV station by his sister.
According to the report, Virgin leaves behind a wife and four-month old child.
UPDATE @ 3:21 p.m:
The airplane that crashed in Akron Tuesday had departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida Monday morning and made stops in Minneapolis, Moline, Ill., St. Louis and Cincinnati, where the crew and passengers spent the night, officials said.
The plane departed Cincinnati Tuesday morning and stopped in Dayton before departing for Akron in the afternoon.
According to officials, the left wing was the first part of the plane that struck the ground first before the plane collided with a four-unit apartment complex.
Witnesses are currently being interviewed to assist in the NTSB investigation into the crash.
A security camera captured the plane in flight at low altitude and banking to the left prior to the crash, but the video has not been released.
Authorities have recovered the voice recorder that was onboard the plane and the piece of evidence is in the process of being looked at by investigators.
NTSB officials are expected to be investigating at the crash site for between four and five days.
Officials are expected to gather the training and other qualifications of the flight crew involved in the crash.
UPDATE @ 1:23 p.m.:
The people who perished in a corporate jet crash that crashed in Akron on Tuesday are still being identified by investigators with the Summit County Coroner’s Office and the National Transportation Safety Board, according to a noon news conference today.
“We’re doing a very systematic recovery of these folks. It will take time to get the medical records to make the identification,” said Lisa Kohler of the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The twin-engine corporate jet departed from Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport prior to crashing into two apartment buildings, killing all nine on board. No one on the ground was injured or killed.
One victim, Diane Smoot of Florida, has been identified by family members. Family members said Smoot was traveling with business colleagues to scout real estate with Pebb Enterprises, a Florida company that owns a strip mall in Sugarcreek Twp. in Greene County. The company’s website indicates it owns Sugarcreek Plaza on Wilmington Pike.
Twelve families living in the apartments at the crash site have been displaced and 11 are being helped by the Red Cross, said Lt. Bill Haymaker of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
As the plane made its final approach to the Akron Fulton International Airport, it flew low and lowered its left wing towards the ground. At about 2:53 p.m., the plane’s wing clipped power lines and crashed into the top of a small apartment building on Mogadore Road in the Ellet neighborhood of Akron before careening into an embankment and bursting into flames.
Another news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. today.
Haymaker said the passenger compartment remained intact after the crash, but that it was heavily burned. “That is the problem with the recovery at this point,” he said. “The recovery could take days and be extensive in nature.”
He added: “You won’t hear the names of passengers or copilots until there is 100 percent identification,” Haymaker said.
Family members can contact authorities at (330) 535-6131 to confirm the identity of those aboard, Haymaker said.
UPDATE @ 12:47 p.m.
The executives killed in the Akron plane crash worked for Florida-based Pebb Enterprises which owns Sugarcreek Plaza on Wilmington Pike in Greene County.
The group also owns similar properties in Cincinnati and Cuyahoga Falls.
Sugarcreek Twp. Administrator Barry Tiffany said the company bought the property in the past few months.
UPDATE @7:25 a.m.
Family members have identified Diane Smoot of Florida as one of nine people killed in a plane crash in Akron Tuesday afternoon.
Family members said Smoot was reportedly traveling with business colleagues to scout real estate with Pebb Enterprises, according to media reports.
Aviation investigators and law enforcement officials are in an Akron suburb today trying to determine what caused a corporate jet to clip utility lines and crash into two apartment buildings 36 minutes after it left Dayton Tuesday afternoon, killing all nine passengers.
The names of the deceased were not released late Tuesday, and authorities did not say if any of the seven passengers and two crew members were from the Dayton region. Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler said she was implementing a “mass casualty plan” at the scene this morning as investigators — from the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Ohio State Highway Patrol — search for clues.
The aircraft, a Raytheon Hawker 800 twin jet, arrived at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Miami Twp. at 11:25 a.m. Tuesday following a 13-minute flight from Cincinnati Municipal Airport, according to Augusto Lewkowicz, whose company Execuflight Inc. owned and operated the aircraft. He said the plane was starting the second-leg of flights that began Monday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Lewkowicz flew to Akron Tuesday vowing to help. “We’re completely at a loss for words,” he posted on Twitter. “We are very confident that they are a very good crew and (it’s) a very good airplane. It’s just shocking to us as anyone else.”
He said there was no chatter from the pilots to indicate anything was out of the ordinary.
As the plane made its final approach to the Akron Fulton International Airport, it flew low and lowered its left wing towards the ground, said Ohio Trooper Lt. Bill Haymaker. At about 2:53 p.m., the plane’s wing clipped power lines and crashed into the top of a small apartment building on Mogadore Road in the Ellet neighborhood of Akron before careening into an embankment and bursting into flames. The neighborhood is about four miles from the airport.
The building was destroyed, while a second house was damaged from fire debris. None of the building’s occupants was inside at the time of the crash. Akron-based utility FirstEnergy Corp said the crash caused a brief power outage for about 1,500 customers around the airport.
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the NTSB will lead the investigation.
“We are gathering information at this time,” NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said in an email to this newspaper.
The National Weather Service reported fog and mist in the area around the time of the crash and recorded visibility at about 1.5 miles.
“Obviously, you know what the weather is tonight. There is cloud cover and rain. That is all speculation if that had anything to do with the crash,” Haymaker said.
Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco said the area would be shut down for at least two days.
This morning, as investigators sift through debris, Haymaker said it will take time to determine a cause. “It is a recovery process,” he said. “We know the plane could have held up to 10 people. We know there’s family out there that want to know if their loved ones were in the crash. It’s going to be a process…that could go all day long.
“The plane is burnt. That is going to take some time,” he said.
Lewkowicz added, “We’re just as puzzled and as concerned as you guys are.”
The Associated Press and wire services contributed to this report.
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