SWANZEY, N.H. (AP) - Seven members of one family - grandparents,
parents and three children - were killed when their small plane
crashed in woods shortly after takeoff and burst into flames.
Spokesman Jim Peters of the Federal Aviation Administration said
there were no survivors in Monday's crash.
Killed were George and Julia Coyle; their daughter Julia Gruver
and her husband Steve Gruver, and their three children, Amanda, 15,
and twins Sarah and Elizabeth, 12, according to Tom Gilkeson, the
Coyles' son-in-law from Cleveland.
Gilkeson told The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette that Steve Gruver,
the pilot, and his wife were experienced pilots. He said Julia Holt
Coyle was the daughter of Homer A. Holt, the 20th governor of West
George Coyle was a Korean War veteran, relatives said.
The Gruvers had lived in Lafayette, La., for the past two years,
Gilkeson said. He said they planned to drop the Coyles off in
Charleston, where they live, before heading home to Lafayette.
The family had visited the Coyles' son, Clay, in Newfane, Vt.,
for the Labor Day weekend.
Witnesses said the twin-engine Beech Baron appeared to be
attempting to return to the Dillant-Hopkins Airport, about two
miles away. Witnesses said there was a large fireball and the plane
"It's pretty much just a burnt mass," Alan Dobrowolski of the
state Division of Aeronautics said. "Because there was a fire,
there was very little identifying information."
He said there were no recognizable plane parts.
Ed Appel, who runs a flight school at the airport, said the
takeoff appeared to go smoothly.
"When it left the hangar, everything seemed normal," Appel
Charlotte Kendall, who owns the land where the plane crashed,
said it was about 500 feet from her house.
"I heard a boom - it shook our house - and then another boom,"
she said. "Like a sonic boom."
"It was too hot to get near. You could see there was nothing
they could do."
The plane went down about 100-150 feet off Route 12 at about 11
a.m. Peters said there was no distress call.
No commercial flights operate from the airport, which has no
control tower. Instead, the plane had been in routine contact with
the Boston FAA center in Nashua.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator arrived at
the scene Monday evening.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
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09-03-2002, 01:16 AM #1
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