UPDATE: Initial Report in Deadly Plane Crash Expected Soon

By: Jeremy Edwards; Michael Clouse Email
By: Jeremy Edwards; Michael Clouse Email
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UPDATE 4/14/14 @ 10:35 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews returned Monday to the site where a small plane crashed Friday in eastern Kanawha County.

National Transportation Safety Board officials said they could release a preliminary report by the end of the week about a possible cause of the crash. The official investigation is expected to take considerably longer.

Married couple Lazarus and Maryann Sommers of Millersburg, Ohio, died in the crash. Both were in their 50s.

The crash happened early Friday evening in a remote wooded area near Riverside.

Crews removed a large section of the wreckage on Monday.



UPDATE 4/12/14 @ 10 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- New information is being released about a deadly plane crash in Kanawha County.

Investigators say a husband and wife were the two on board the small plane that crashed Friday evening.

Lazarus Sommers, 50, and his wife Maryann Sommers, 56, are from Millersburg, Ohio.

"We're basically seeing to put together a picture of the accident. build a puzzle. so we try to find all the pieces we can, put them together, and build as clear of a narrative as we can about what happened," said Dennis Diaz, an Air Safety Investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The crash happened about 5:00 p.m. near Riverside about a mile from U.S. Route 60.

Investigators from the NTSB spent all day Saturday examining the crash site which they say is about 300 feet long.

"Documenting the site, documenting the wreckage as it came to rest at the site, and the environment around the site," said Diaz.

They were looking for any electronics to help share the planes final moments.

Unequipped with a cockpit voice recorder, commonly known as a black box, investigators will instead examine handheld devices and avionic panels that may have some data.

They will also look at the aircraft's production and maintenance history.

While not releasing any information surrounding the crash, Diaz did confirm one piece of information.

"There was no evidence of an in-flight or post-impact fire," said Diaz.

While the process of removing the aircraft will begin Sunday and Monday, answering the question of what lead to the mangled mess could take between nine and 12 months.

NTSB officials are looking to speak with anyone who might have witnessed the crash. If you saw anything, you are asked to email WITNESS@NTSB.COM.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 4/12/14 @ 1:05 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews on the scene of a small plane crash in Kanawha County confirm two people on board have died.

The crash was reported near Riverside just before 5 p.m. Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells WSAZ.com they believe the plane is a Piper PA-32. The plane departed Akron Fulton International Airport in Ohio.

The FAA says the plane was headed to Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport in South Carolina.

Two people were on board the plane when it crashed. The crash scene is about a mile from U.S. 60.

"I seen it come this way a little bit and started to putt a little bit and then I heard something really loud, and then I heard the plane and then I heard it crash," said Alayna Owsley, who witnessed the crash.

"The big hurdle is the topography. It's the roll of it, the height of the mountains, the angle of the hills; those types of things are very difficult to traverse," said Corporal Brian Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriffs Department. "They aren't able to get vehicles up there, not even ATVs at this point so they're on foot."

The Aviation Technology Center out of Indianapolis says they had been in contact with the pilot, who was trying to detour due to weather.

The FAA is not releasing the aircraft N-number until after emergency officials on the scene release the names of the people killed in the crash.

FAA officials are expected at the scene about 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 4/11/14 @ 6:55 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Emergency crews have found the wreckage of a small plane in Kanawha County.

Deputies tell WSAZ.com, it is a single engine plane and it was found on a hillside near Riverside.

Metro 911 started getting calls that the plane had crashed just before 5 p.m. Friday.

Deputies say the plane did not take off from Yeager Airport in Charleston nor was it headed there.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells WSAZ.com, it's preliminary information is the plane is a Piper PA-32. The plane departed Akron Fulton International Airport in Ohio.

The FAA says they do not know where the plane was heading or how many people were on board.

The wreckage of the plane was spotted by crews on the ground and helicopter.

Deputies say right now the wreckage is unreachable and they are sending manned crews in right now.

Deputies say they do not know the condition of the people on board the plane.

We have a crew on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 4/11/14 @ 6:31 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Emergency crews are searching for a plane that possibly crashed in Kanawha County.

Emergency crews have set up a staging area at Ward Cemetery near Cedar Grove. This is on Kelley's Creek Road.

Deputies responding to the scene tell WSAZ.com they have been told Yeager Airport lost contact with a pilot.

The Aviation Technology Center out of Indianapolis says they had been in contact with the pilot of a Cessna Saratoga, who was trying to detour due to weather.

A witness tells WSAZ.com she saw a plane going slow, and crash into the hollow. Other witnesses say they saw the plane hit the hillside and they saw smoke coming from the area. But at this time, crews have not found the crash.

Route 60 from Riverside to the Montgomery Bridge was shut down, but reopened about 6:30 p.m.

We have a crew on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 4/11/14 @ 5:44 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Emergency crews are responding to reports of a small plane crash in the eastern part of the county.

Emergency dispatchers say crews are searching a hillside for the plane near Riverside High School.

Deputies responding to the scene tell WSAZ.com they have been told Yeager Airport lost contact with a plane in that area.

Deputies say several people have called them saying they saw the plane hit the hillside and now smoke is coming from the area.

Dispatchers say Route 60 is closed from Riverside to the Montgomery Bridge until further notice.

WSAZ.com has a crew at the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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