PITTSBURGH -- A plane carrying skydivers crashed upon departure from Greensburg Jeannette Regional Airport in Westmoreland County Sunday.
Three skydivers and one pilot on board the plane were killed in the accident. One skydiver survived and was taken to Mercy Hospital.
There is no word on his condition.
Three of the victims have been identified as Charles Bryant, 61, of Greensburg (pictured, right), David Ray, 49, of Seward and Terry Blanish, 52, of West Newton.
Officials did not identify the pilot, pending notification of his family. The pilot was a 52-year-old Pittsburgh man.
Witnesses heard sputtering from the Cessna 205 plane when it took off around 1:15 p.m. Sunday. They say the plane seemed to have trouble gaining altitude after takeoff and -- in an attempt to return -- it turned sharp left and then sharp right and then crashed.
The fixed wing, single engine plane was built in 1963 and had no history of past problems.
The plane was registered to Bryant, who operated Chuck Bryant's Skydive Bouquet at the airport. A notice for the company describes it as a family-run business with a Cessna 205 that specializes in teaching skydiving to new students but can also accommodate experienced jumpers.
Bryant was not piloting the plane.
Pilot Valetta Mowry has flown the plane on many occasions for Skydive Bouquet and knew Bryant well.
She says he is someone who would never send out a plane that wasn't fit to fly.
"He loved to skydive. He loved to promote. He loved to fly. That's a good airplane. Chuck took very good care of (it)," Mowry said.
While there have been four or five crashes at the airport over its roughly 30-year history, none -- according to local emergency officials -- have ever involved fatalities.
And none -- Channel 11 News is told Ė involved aircraft flown by Bryant.
Bryant began parachuting with the 82nd airborne, picked it up as a sport in 1973 and earned his jump master rating in 1981. He started the skydiving school about seven years ago.
The National Transportation Safety Board will arrive at the crash site Monday to begin trying to figure out what brought the plane down.
Also, autopsies will be done on the bodies of the four men killed in the crash. Right now, it appears they died of blunt force trauma.
Toxicology test will be done on the pilot, as required by the FAA as part of the investigation into any plane crash.
Stay tuned to Channel 11 News for updates on this story.
Umm I dont know what to say about this at all. I did not respond because I was about an hour away and didn't have a ride to get back to the scene. This accident happend maybe 5 miles from my house and with a company that we sometime run Mutial aid with. I am speachless.
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Thread: Plane Crash
06-15-2003, 11:36 PM #1
Engine Co 3
These opinions are mine and mine only nobody eles.
06-16-2003, 08:35 AM #2
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Rob, plane crashes suck. Something like this, there isn't much need for mutual aid.Omnis Cedo Domus
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