Sunday, August 19, 2018

Ravenna, Ohio, pilot disappeared without a trace

Commercial pilot Neil Huntzinger (1900-1954) was a schoolbook salesman in Ohio.

Neil Huntzinger was an expert pilot. For decades, he traveled North America, Central America and South America for profit and adventure.

Then one morning, he pointed the nose of his airplane toward the horizon and vanished into thin air, leaving a mystery that has never been solved.

Huntzinger, an Iowa native, was a schoolbook salesman for the Crowell-Collier Publishing Co. of New York City. He was a regular visitor to Akron Public Schools, one of the many districts that dotted his Ohio territory.

During one sales trip to Portage County, he met Margaret Hubbell, the principal of Brimfield High School. Huntzinger swept her off her feet and lifted her into the clouds.

“Our honeymoon was spent on an airplane ferry trip,” his wife later reminisced.

Huntzinger, who had flown since 1929, had a commercial pilot’s license and supplemented his income by delivering small aircraft to customers. Married in 1946, the newlyweds spent that summer ferrying airplanes from the West Coast to the East Coast and down to Mexico and back.

The couple bought a home on Sandy Lake Road in Ravenna and enjoyed years of whirlwind trips in their private plane.

In August 1954, Huntzinger was hired to pick up a Super Piper Cub in Lock Haven, Pa., and fly it to South America. The airplane, which had been equipped as a crop duster, was bound for a customer in Bogota, Colombia.

The 53-year-old pilot snapped a few photos, waved goodbye to his wife and flew off into the unknown.

The last time that Margaret Huntzinger heard from her husband was Aug. 17 in Mexico. He had made it safely to Veracruz, a port city on the Gulf of Mexico, and planned to fly out the next morning to the Pacific Coast.

Neil Huntzinger took off at 6:45 a.m. Aug. 18 for a planned six-hour flight over the mountainous jungle to Tapachula in the Mexican state of Chiapas along the border with Guatemala. He had enough fuel for an all-day trip, though, and could have traveled 1,600 miles without stopping. He had made two previous trips and knew the route.

“He was in a big hurry to get back home because he’d been granted an extra week or two of summer vacation by his employers, the Crowell-Collier book publishing firm,” his wife later recalled. “Usually a careful pilot, it could be that, just this once, he decided not to bother with the lengthy customs at the Guatemalan border.”

In a bureaucratic error, Huntzinger’s flight plan was not forwarded to Tapachula, so the airport wasn’t on the lookout for him and didn’t notice that his plane didn’t arrive. When Margaret Huntzinger didn’t hear from her husband for several days, she began to worry.

She contacted her cousin Oliver P. Bolton, a U.S. congressman from Cleveland who published the Lake County News Herald and Dover Daily Reporter, and he arranged for the U.S. Air Force Rescue Squadron in Ellington, Texas, to conduct a search from Veracruz to Tapachula.

Unfortunately, the trail had gone cold in the 10 days that elapsed since Huntzinger was last seen. Bolton sent dispatches to all Central American nations and wired a cable to the Panama Canal Zone. No one reported seeing the missing airplane.

Margaret Huntzinger printed hundreds of posters in Spanish and distributed them in Mexico and Central America with the aid of the U.S. State Department. A $500 reward — about $4,600 today — was offered for information leading to the pilot.

She next turned to Ravenna High School Principal Wayne E. Watters, 43, the couple’s good friend who spoke fluent Spanish. Watters requested a leave of absence from the Ravenna school board to search for Huntzinger that summer. He was gone for nearly a month.

“Even though weather maps that day said the weather was good, a sudden cloud condition or shower may have caused him to lose his way,” Watters told the Beacon Journal. “The only instrument he had aboard was a compass.

“He could have been injured in a crash and be lying in some remote Indian village with a broken leg unable to persuade the Indians to get him out to safety.”

Watters spent three weeks crisscrossing the jungle with Mexican pilots. Natives about 60 miles north of the Oaxaca town of Ixtepec had reported hearing a plane in distress. A farmer south of the Veracruz town of Jesus Carranza had also heard a sputtering craft.

The rescue party searched a 100-mile radius of Ixtepec. Watters’ heart sank when they spied the twisted wreckage of an airplane in the jungle. When researchers reached the desolate locale, though, it turned out to be debris from a Mexican plane that had crashed years earlier.

Watters returned home after the fruitless mission. Col. Alfonso Gondarilla of the Mexican air force continued the search, periodically sending notes to Ravenna with the words: “No word of airplane.”

Weeks passed, then months. In March 1955, the Beacon Journal interviewed the pilot’s wife, who believed that her husband was still alive.

“You can’t rule out anything,” she said.

“The rainy season is over down there and still no trace of his plane has been found in the 75-mile area of jungle where he would most likely have crashed,” she told reporter Helen Waterhouse. “Now I’m beginning to put more credence in another theory.

“My hope is he may be in a Central American jail somewhere. Since all the trouble recently in Costa Rica, and the Communist situation in Guatemala, Neil’s plane could have been a prize they wanted.

“They might have imprisoned him in one of those countries after taking his plane.”

Months turned into years. The search ended and Neil Huntzinger was declared dead.

Watters theorized that his friend may have suffered a fatal heart attack or become otherwise incapacitated while flying over the mountains.

“If his plane came down in jungle growth, the trees could close over it, swallowing it from sight forever, perhaps,” he said.

Margaret Huntzinger was 86 when she died in Toledo in 1987. Wayne Watters retired to North Carolina and died in 1999 at age 88.

They went to their graves not knowing what happened to their husband and friend.

Nearly 65 years after Neil Huntzinger vanished, the jungle has not given up its secret.

Story and photo gallery:

Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar, C-GRRS: Fatal accident occurred July 30, 2018 at Greenville Municipal Airport (3B1), Piscataquis County, Maine

Joe Robertson, Anita Robertson and Laura Robertson 

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine
Lycoming; Chandler, Arizona 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Greenville, ME
Accident Number: ERA18FA206
Date & Time: 07/30/2018, 1055 EDT
Registration: C-GRRS
Aircraft: Piper PA60
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Non-U.S., Non-Commercial 

On July 30, 2018, about 1055 eastern daylight time, a Canadian registered Piper PA-60-602P, C-GRRS, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while on approach to land at the Greenville Municipal Airport (3B1), Greenville, Maine. The private pilot and the two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under Canadian Aviation Regulations as a recreational flight. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed the Pembroke Airport (CYTA), Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, about 0905, and was destined for the Charlottetown Airport (CYYG), Prince Edward Island, Canada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the of the accident.

According to the Pembroke Airport manager, the pilot flew to Pembroke on July 27, 2018, and purchased 117 gallons of 100 low lead fuel. The airport manager, who personally fueled the airplane that day, said he topped-off both wing tanks and the center tank with fuel. He did not fuel the auxiliary fuel tank. The airplane was then placed in a hangar until the morning of July 30, 2018, when the pilot departed for CYYG.

A preliminary review of air traffic control (ATC) communications revealed that after the pilot departed, he climbed and leveled the airplane at 23,000 ft mean sea level (msl). About 90 minutes into the flight, the airplane began to descend, and the pilot reported a loss of power to ATC. The pilot was vectored to 3B1. He told ATC he had the airport in sight and intended to make a left downwind entry for runway 14.

A witness was standing on the airport's apron near the terminal building between runway 21 and 14 when he first observed the airplane approaching the airport from the south. The airplane was flying directly toward where he was standing. The witness said the airplane was "low" and about 400 ft above the ground. It flew over the center of the airport and made what appeared to be a left downwind entry for runway 21. There was no smoke trailing the airplane and the landing gear was retracted. The witness said both propellers were turning, but he could not tell how fast they were turning or if one was turning faster than the other. He was standing next to active construction equipment which prevented him from fully hearing the engines. When the airplane reached the approach end of runway 21, it began a "shallow" left turn. The nose of the airplane was "high" and the airplane was "going so slow." He said, "It was like it almost stopped in the air" right before the left wing suddenly dropped and the nose of the airplane dove toward the ground and disappeared behind an embankment. The witness saw a debris cloud and knew the airplane crashed.

A second witness, who was a pilot, was standing in front of a hangar on the southeast side runway 3/21 when he first observed the airplane approaching the airport from the west. It was "low" and about 500-600 ft above the ground. Instead of landing, the airplane continued to fly over the center of the airport. The witness said the airplane flew directly over him as it made a left turn and flew parallel of runway 3/21. He said both propellers were turning, and the engines were producing power; however, he could not estimate an engine speed. The witness could not recall if the gear or flaps were extended, but recalled the belly of the airplane was painted black. When the airplane flew past the approach end of runway 21, it began a "shallow" left turn and was flying "really slow." The bank angle continued to increase to a point where he could see the entire top of the airplane. The airplane then pitched up and it appeared to momentarily "stop" right before the left wing "stalled" and the nose pitched down toward the ground. The witness did not hear any increase in engine rpm prior to impact. He also said that he did not believe the pilot was trying to land on runway 21 because he was positioned too close to the runway.

The airplane came to rest in a field about 300 ft from the approach end of runway 21 on a magnetic heading of 220°. All major components of the airframe were accounted for at the site and there was no postimpact fire. The wreckage was contained to where it impacted the ground. The nose and forward fuselage area were compressed inward from impact; both engines were partially buried in the ground (neither propeller was feathered), and the empennage was compressed and twisted to the left. The tail section appeared undamaged and was twisted to the left. Both wings remained attached to the airframe at the wing root and sustained impact damage. The wing fuel tanks were breached. The center fuel tank (bladder-type) was breached, and the auxiliary fuel tank remained in the airplane but was breached. According to first responders, about 20 gallons of fuel was cleaned up at the site. The green vegetation forward of where the wreckage came to rest was discolored brown.

The airplane wreckage was retained for further examination.

The pilot, age 58, held a Canadian private pilot certificate for single and multi-engine land airplane, and instrument airplane. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that as of July 27, 2018, he had a total of 590.3 flight hours, of which, 155.2 hours were in multi-engine airplanes. The pilot logged about 136 hours total in the accident airplane and about 82.6 of those hours were as pilot-in-command.

At 1056, weather at the Greenville Municipal Airport was reported as wind from 310° at 8 knots, variable between 260° and 360°, sky clear, temperature 23° C, dew point 14°, and an altimeter setting of 30.09 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: C-GRRS
Model/Series: PA60 602P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 3B1, 1401 ft msl
Observation Time: 1056 EDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 310°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Pembroke, ON (CYTA)
Destination: Charlottetown, PE (CYYG)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  45.000000, -69.000000 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Delta Air Lines, Boeing 737-900: Incident occurred August 18, 2018 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (KSTL) Missouri

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -  A flight out of Lambert Airport to Atlanta was delayed Saturday morning after a small flock of birds got tangled in the plane’s engine just after takeoff.

Delta spokesperson Lisa Hellerstedt said the pilot of Delta Flight 1080 decided to turn around shortly after the flight’s takeoff at 7:20 a.m. as a precaution. The plane returned to the gate just past 7:30 where 140 passengers exited the aircraft. 

No one was hurt in the incident and no other flights were impacted.

All passengers were put on a flight to the same destination or otherwise accommodated.

The company released the following statement:

Delta flight 1080 returned to St. Louis Lambert International Airport shortly after encountering birds on ascent. The flight landed safely without incident and taxied to the gate for maintenance evaluation. We apologize for the delay to our customers as safety is always our top priority.

Original article can be found here ➤

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • A Delta Air Lines aircraft leaving St. Louis for Atlanta had to turn around early Saturday after striking a flock of birds.

Flight 1080 took off at 7:21 a.m., but returned to the gate at St. Louis Lambert International Airport by 7:37 a.m. after striking several birds, Delta said in a statement.

There were about 140 passengers on the Boeing 737 aircraft. They were put on alternative flights, Delta said.

From January 2010 through April of this year there were 504 bird strikes at Lambert, according to a Federal Aviation Administration database.

Lambert has an active bird mitigation program in attempt to prevent these strikes, said airport spokesman Jeff Lea.

Original article can be found here ➤

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II, N81441: Incident occurred August 19, 2018 at Danbury Municipal Airport (KDXR), Fairfield County, Connecticut

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Bradley

Aircraft missing a wheel, landed causing damage to aircraft.

Arrow Aviation LLC

Date: 19-AUG-18
Time: 15:59:00Z
Regis#: N81441
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 28 161
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

A plane made an emergency landing at Danbury Airport Sunday.

Police say a four-seat Piper Warrior plane had a problem with its landing gear while in the air. Two people were on board.

The aircraft made several flybys to allow the tower to check for damage and for emergency crews to prepare on the ground.

No one was injured during the landing.

The plane was towed from the runway.

Story and video ➤

DANBURY — A plane touched down safely at Danbury Airport on Sunday, despite a problem with its landing gear.

James Gagliardo, spokesman for the fire department, said the issue with aircraft’s left-side landing gear was discovered as the pilot was practicing landing on the runway.

Danbury firefighters and Emergency Medical Services were called to the airport around 11:30 a.m. and stood by as the four-seat Piper Warrior tried to land.

The pilot then successfully touched down gently and came to a full stop on the runway, according to a release from the fire department. Neither the pilot or passenger were injured, while the plane suffered little damage.

“Between the airport air traffic controller, the skilled pilot, and the joint response of the Danbury Fire, Police, EMS and Airport Administrators this couldn't have turned out any better,” Mike Safranek, airport assistant administrator, said in the release.

Fire units helped jack the aircraft and replace the gear, so the plane could be towed from the runway.

Original article can be found here ➤

Bell 206, N8052G: Accident occurred August 18, 2018 in Battle Mountain, Lander County, Nevada

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

El Aero Services LLC

NTSB Identification: GAA18CA512
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 18, 2018 in Battle Mountain, NV
Aircraft: Bell 206, registration: N8052G

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Rotorcraft crashed due to unknown circumstances.

Date: 18-AUG-18
Time: 21:15:00Z
Regis#: N8052G
Aircraft Make: BELL
Aircraft Model: 206B
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

Three incidents took place in Lander County on Saturday, Aug. 18: A helicopter crash involving employees with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), the Sheep Creek Fire, and a burn-over of two firefighters responding to the fire.

The helicopter crash took place around 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 18. It was a contract helicopter carrying a pilot and two NDOW biologists on a wildlife survey flight.

The pilot and one of the biologists had minor injuries, and the other biologist had injuries to their neck and back. All three are in good condition and the crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“We cannot stress enough the importance of safety with our employees and the public, and we are grateful everyone on the flight is safe,” said NDOW Director Tony Wasley.

Shortly after the crash, the Sheep Creek Fire was reported approximately 15 miles north of Battle Mountain. Crews from the Battle Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) responded to the fire.

During the response, an engine from the Battle Mountain VFD was burned over injuring two firefighters. The firefighters were taken to a burn center and information on their status will be provided when it becomes available.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters, their families and the entire community," said Lander County Manager Keith Westengard. "Lander County is a tight knit community and many are affected by this tragedy."

The Sheep Creek fire is currently at 7,000 acres and approximately five percent containment, and the cause remains under investigation. More information about the fire can be found in Inciweb at

“This situation highlights the dangers faced by all partners and agencies who assist with battling wildfires,” said acting BLM Nevada State Director Mike Courtney. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters and their families as they deal with the injuries and recovery.”

“The Nevada Department of Wildlife will also continue to keep the injured firefighters and their families in our thoughts and prayers,” added Wasley.

Original article can be found here ➤

The Federal Aviation Administration tells us that a Bell B206 helicopter crashed around 2 p.m. about 15 miles north of Battle Mountain on Saturday.

Authorities say that three people were onboard. BLM officials say that two of them are employees of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).

The pilot and one of the NDOW biologists suffered minor injuries and the other biologist has injuries to their neck and back. 

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

The BLM says that there was a wildfire reported also 15 miles north of Battle Mountain, however, at this time it is unknown if the two are connected.

During the response, an engine from the Battle Mountain Volunteer Fire Department was burned over injuring two firefighters. They are now at a burn center, but their status is unknown. 

“This situation highlights the dangers faced by all partners and agencies who assist with battling wildfires,” said acting BLM Nevada State Director Mike Courtney.

They are calling this the Sheep Creek fire. It's currently sitting at 7,000 acres and 5% contained. 

They estimate to have it fully contained by August 23rd.

Original article can be found here ➤

Pietenpol Air Camper, N88HK: Fatal accident occurred August 18, 2018 in Camp Verde, Yavapai County, Arizona

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Crashed under unknown circumstances.

Date: 19-AUG-18
Time: 04:58:00Z
Regis#: N88HK
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

CAMP VERDE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -  The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office is investigating a small plane crash that left two people dead Saturday in Camp Verde. 

At around 6:30 p.m. YCSO said they received a call from a person about an overdue small plane. 

The family member of the plane’s owner told deputies that they had been trying to reach the pilot for several hours.

YCSO said that prior to the incident, the pilot told the family that he was taking a friend for a short flight in the area around Yavapai County.

According to YCSO, local aircraft towers had no record of the plane in the air.

YCSO deputies later obtained GPS coordinates from a cell phone belonging to one of the occupants. That's when DPS troopers were called out to search for the missing plane. 

Troopers located the plane at around 8:30 p.m. in a remote area southeast of the Montezuma Castle in Camp Verde. 

DPS troopers set down and confirmed the pilot and his passenger were both killed.  

The victims were later identified 68-year-old Glenn Tenniswood, who was the pilot and 78-year-old Ron Walker. 

YCSO deputies were finally able to access the site Sunday morning.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane involved in the crash was an experimental air camper.

At this time, the National Transportation Safety Board is on the scene and is the investigating the crash with the FAA and YCSO. 

Original article can be found here ➤

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. — Authorities say two people are dead after the crash of a small home-built plane in north-central Arizona.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s officials say the wreckage was found in rugged terrain Saturday night southeast of Montezuma Castle in Camp Verde.

Crews were recovering the bodies of the pilot and passenger Sunday morning and National Transportation Safety Board officials were at the scene to begin investigating the cause of the crash.

They were later identified as 68-year-old Glenn Tenniswood from Camp Verde, who was the pilot, and 78-year-old Ron Walker from Camp Verde.

Sheriff’s officials say they received a call about an overdue small plane from a family member of the aircraft’s owner around 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The plane was tracked from a cellphone belonging to one of the people aboard the plane.

Camp Verde is 90 miles north of Phoenix.

Original article can be found here ➤

CAMP VERDE, AZ - Two people are dead following a plane crash in the Camp Verde area on Saturday night.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call around 6:30 p.m. about an overdue plane.

A family member told YCSO they were trying to reach the pilot for several hours.

YCSO was able to obtain GPS coordinates from a cell phone belonging to one of the occupants of the plane.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter located the plane around 8:30 p.m in very rugged terrain southwest of Montezuma Castle. 

DPS Ranger Troopers confirmed the pilot and his passenger were dead on the scene. 

Officials have identified the pilot as 68-year-old Glenn Tenniswood from Camp Verde. The passenger has been identified as 78-year-old Ron Walker from Camp Verde. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was an Experimental Pietenpol Air Camper.

Original article can be found here ➤

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N905WA: Incident occurred August 18, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida

Landed on an interstate.

My Way Aviation LLC

Date: 18-AUG-18
Time: 18:22:00Z
Regis#: N505WA
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172N
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Operation: 91

An airplane that suffered mechanical problems landed in the eastbound lanes of Alligator Alley Saturday afternoon.

According to The Florida Highway Patrol, a single-engine Cessna piloted by Pedro Krisciunas Kazimier, 25, from Doral, along with one passenger made a successful emergency landing on Interstate 75 around 5:30 p.m.

No injuries were reported and there was no damage to the plane.

The aircraft was moved to the shoulder of an entrance ramp for disassembly and removal.

FAA is investigating the cause of the power failure.

Story and video ➤

WEST BROWARD, FLA. (WSVN) - A short training flight above South Florida came to an abrupt and unexpected end after a mechanical issue forced the pilot of a small plane to make an emergency landing on Alligator Alley in West Broward.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue responded to the scene on the eastbound lanes near Mile Marker 32, Saturday, just after 5:30 p.m.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Cessna 172 landed at around 5:15 p.m.

Eddie Luy with the Wayman Aviation Academy said the aircraft suffered mechanical problems, forcing the instructor and student pilot on board to touch down on the highway.

“They had some roughness in the engine, so they had a precautionary safety landing,” he said. “At this time of year, with the wetness and the moisture in the air, we see often what’s called carburetor icing. It restricts fuel flow.”

First responders were met by the two occupants of the aircraft. They were on what was supposed to be a one-hour training flight from Punta Gorda, on Florida’s West coast, to the Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport, when they were suddenly forced to make a new plan — fast.

Thankfully, officials said, there were no vehicles on the eastbound lanes at the time of the landing.

“They went through their emergency procedures, found a good spot to land, saw there was no traffic,” said Luy. “You know, considering we’re surrounded by lots of Everglades, they picked a clear piece of asphalt to land on.”

The aircraft was parked on the right shoulder of the highway, just west of the eastern toll plaza.

No one was hurt, and the aircraft did not appear to have suffered any structural damage.

As crews worked until late Saturday night disassembling the plane for easy transport, highway workers said this is something you don’t see every day.

“You normally see alligators out here, not planes,” said a worker.

FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Story and video ➤

Sussex County, New Jersey: Tragic airplane crash recalled

Posted: August 19, 2018 12:01 am

HAMPTON -- It was on Aug. 24, 1948, when one of the worst airplane crashes in Sussex County history occurred and nine lives were lost. The headlines that appeared in the Aug. 26, 1948, Herald blared: "Nine Die in Crash of C-47 on E.H. Blakeslee Farm -- Worst Plane Accident in History of Sussex County."

The article commenced: "The worst plane accident in the history of Sussex County occurred on the E.H. Blakeslee farm at 1:10 p.m. on Monday, when a C-47 Army transport crashed and burned, killing nine men." The article continued: "The plane was seen flying at low level and apparently in distress by several Sussex County residents. Charles Emmons of Halsey said the plane flew over at low level, turned and the pilot attempted to gain altitude. It rose, then leveled off, and a minute later crashed."

Later in the article it was written: "Cpl. Loesser and Trooper Walters, of Sussex; Trooper Lattimore and Detective (Terrence) Gillen, of Newton; and Lt. A.H. Albrecht, of Morristown, who happened to be near, all picked up the radio call and hastened to the scene. By the time they reached the spot, there were nothing left but charred bodies and charred pieces of wreckage. Capt. R.A. Miller, Base Operations, Stewart Field, Newburgh, N.Y., said Monday evening that the destruction of the plane was so complete nothing could be salvaged.

"The force of the explosion blew pieces of the plane over a wide area. Bodies of the victims were scattered about and parts of arms and legs were found some distance from the larger pieces of the plane."

In explaining how the tragic accident happened the newspaper article continued: "Shortly before the crash, the transport and a B-25 bomber scraped each other at an altitude of 7,000 feet. Lt. David F. Tatum, pilot of the bomber, radioed Mitchell Field, L.I., that he had scraped against a C-47. The bomber continued to Stewart Field, Newburgh, N.Y., where the plane landed safely. The crew stated they were flying at cloud level when suddenly a plane seemed to loom out of the clouds. The B-25 veered sharply and they felt a slight jolt. They then noticed the damaged left wing and returned to Stewart Field.

"No one of the crew of the bomber was hurt. The transport lost a section of wing over Route S-31 at Red Top Farm, and some more pieces on the top of another hill before crashing on the Blakeslee farm."

The crew members who lost their lives included Capt. William D. Betty Jr., 30, of Portland, Maine, pilot; Capt. John Fritts Jr., 26, of Virginia Beach, Va., co-pilot; and Tec. Sgt. John Stringer, 31, of Washington, engineer, according to officials at Bolling Field.

The six passengers were identified as "enlisted men handpicked by their commands for the privilege of attending a Protestant layman's retreat of U.S. Air Force chaplains in Connecticut. It was emphasized that these six were neither assistant chaplains nor personnel officially connected with Army religious work. The Air Force identified four of the six as Pfc. Fred Anderson, 18; Pfc. James E. Ford, 24; Sgt. Forrest J. Grate, 20; and Pfc. Bernard E. Mahoney, 18."

(Warning. Proceed with caution. Some of the details are rather gruesome and gory at best.)

Branchville resident Bill Bathgate shared his memories of that fateful day, when as an 11-year-old boy he experienced witnessing the devastating impact of that tragic airplane crash.

Bathgate and his Dad, Bill Sr., were sitting on bar stools at Lew's Bar and Grill, located at the intersection of Route 206 and Pines Road, where the regulars referred to it as "going to Sunday School." Bill was enjoying a Kelly's Root Beer while his dad had Ballantine Ale.

A telephone call abruptly ended the day's pleasure. Bathgate recalled that Lew ordered his dad to "run next door to my garage, get the ambulance out and head to Russ Blakeslee's farm. There's been a bad two-airplane collision and one has hit the ground."

"It seemed in an instant that we had flown clear of our stools and were entering the front seat of the dust covered vintage ambulance." Bathgate paused in his narration to muse, "Why Lew had this old vehicle in his garage baffles me to this day."

Their route to the scene was 206 south to Augusta Hill Road and then to 519. Just past the intersection of Augusta Hill Road and 519, in the first meadow on the left, was the downed airplane. It had taken seven minutes for them to arrive.

"When Dad and I exited the ambulance, we heard the sound of sirens blaring from all the surrounding municipalities, the whine of a less formative siren on a state trooper's motorcycle, and we saw a large number of people on foot racing through the meadow. Secondly, and much more predominate, was the abominable, indescribable stench of a burning aircraft, burning fuel and burning flesh that permeated the atmosphere."

Continuing, Bathgate explained: "To reach the area of devastation one would have to cross through a barbed wire fence. With left hand grabbing the upper strand of wire and the right hand the same for the middle strand, then pressuring each in opposing directions so that my body would be able to pass through that expanse, I proceeded. For a country boy, this was nothing new and had been accomplished many times before. This time, though, would be much different and wind up with a horrid encounter. For, in my zeal to get to the scene, not much attention had been paid to the act of passing through the fence, but this time there was something different. Feeling a distinct back and forth swaying motion of the upper strand caused me to look upward. A very small twig from a wild bush was making contact with the wire; however, this was not the cause of the heavy swaying. Looking farther beyond, I saw a smoldering head staring straight at me, caught by its few remaining stands of hair on the fence. My grabbing the upper wire must have generated the swaying motion.

"Transfixed between two strands of barbed wire, shock must have been my nemesis. It seemed like an eternity standing in that position. The sight of this head, a large portion looking like a charred black marshmallow and the remaining portion appearing as a huge blister with the one lidless eyeball staring straight through it, would have a haunting effect on me for weeks to come."

Continuing, Bathgate recalled: "Pieces of aircraft and human remains were smoldering and in flames in an area encompassing a half mile. Body parts were everywhere. My first observation was that of an Army boot with the calf of a leg protruding from it. Continuing on through this abomination of humanity, we saw more carnage than any 11-year-old should have ever seen. By now, the smell and taste of the atmosphere seemed so much stronger as it clung to my nostrils and lungs. One large area of the scene looked as though it had been bleached. This was where the aircraft had made impact and the intense heat had transformed the earth to glass and bleached the rocks."

Bathgate concluded by observing that it was a long, long time before he went to "Sunday School" with his dad. Summing up his recollections of that tragic event of 70 years ago, when the worst airplane crash in the history of Sussex County resulted in the loss of nine lives, he sums it up by saying, "I never wanted to be the first on scene for anything again, nor did I ever want to brag about that day to my friends."


Jennie Sweetman is the history columnist for he New Jersey Herald. She may be contacted at

Story and photo gallery  ➤

Paramotor: Accident occurred August 18, 2018 in Janesville, Rock County, Wisconsin

A 48-year-old man sustained non-life-threatening injuries after crashing his paramotor into Memorial bridge Saturday morning.

The pilot of the single-person aircraft was traveling north over the Rock River at 9:31 a.m. when he crashed into the bridge, according to a news release. The aircraft was a single-person aircraft with a motor, single propeller and parachute.

A Gazette photographer on the scene saw the man give a wave as he was wheeled on a stretcher into the ambulance. The aircraft was destroyed on impact.

The aircraft crashed yards away from where water skiers from the Rock Aqua Jays, Webfooters and Aquanuts ski teams were attempting to break a world record for the largest human water ski pyramid.

Before crashing, the pilot appeared to attempt to fly over the bridge but instead jerked the aircraft upward and hit the side of the bridge.

The incident drew attention from the crowd of spectators watching the skiers. Traffic on Memorial Drive was blocked for about an hour.

The pilot was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries, according to a news release. He was the only person injured.

An investigation is ongoing with the Janesville Police Department and Milwaukee Flight Standards Division of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Original article can be found here ➤

The pilot of an ultralight aircraft was injured Saturday when his paramotor crashed at the Memorial Bridge in Janesville, according to police.

Janesville police and fire officials responded to the crash at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The pilot, 48, was traveling from north to south and collided with the Memorial Bridge, 200 E. Memorial Drive.

He sustained non-life threatening, but critical injuries, and was taken to a local medical center. He was the only person injured.

The crash remains under investigation by the Janesville Police Department and the Milwaukee Flights Standards Division of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane was a single-occupant aircraft with a motor, single propeller and parachute.

The number of private-aircraft crashes has been in decline in the previous decade, according to the most recent annual report from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

As of 2014, the most recent year complete data is available, there were 952 crashes of non-commercial fixed-wing planes either within, departing from or arriving in the United States. That was down from 1,331 in 2005.

About one in five of those crashes involved a fatality, killing a total of 300 people.

The 5.78 crashes per 100,000 flight hours was almost unchanged from the previous year’s record low, according to the report.

Original article can be found here ➤

JANESVILLE, Wis. - A 48-year-old pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries after his paramotor crashed into the Memorial Bridge Saturday morning, according to Janesville police.

The Janesville Police and Fire departments responded to a report of an ultralight aircraft crash at the bridge on East Memorial Drive at 9:31 a.m., according to a news release.

The pilot was going southbound before his plane collided with the bridge. The pilot was the only person in the single-man aircraft.

An investigation into what caused the accident is still ongoing and is being conducted by Janesville police and the Milwaukee Flights Standards Division of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Original article can be found here ➤

Cessna 210 Centurion, N6958N: Incident occurred August 18, 2018 at Jones Riverside Airport (KRVS), Tulsa, Oklahoma

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Will Rogers

Gear collapsed and aircraft went off the runway into the grass.

Date: 18-AUG-18
Time: 14:46:00Z
Regis#: N6958N
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: T210N
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

TULSA, Oklahoma -  A pilot is okay after his plane crashed at Jones Riverside Airport.

Firefighters say the Cessna 210 lost electrical power and some of the landing gear did not deploy correctly.

Authorities say the pilot was headed from Tulsa to McAllen, Texas, at the time of the crash.

They say the pilot was not injured in the crash and there were no other people on the plane.

Read more here ➤