UPDATE: Names of Victims in Private Plane Crash Released

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UPDATE on Sunday, February 1st

CHICAGO (WSAZ) -- Friends of the victims that were killed in the small private plane crash in Wayne County have released the names of the six victims.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting the names of the victims as Kazimierz Adamski, Wieslaw Dobrzanski, Irenevsz Michalowski, Stanislaw Matras, Monika Niemiec, and her father Stanley Niemiec.

The Tribune says the Niemiecs were along for the ride and not members of the local aviation club in Chicago.

Chester Wojnicki, president of the American Polish
Aero-Club, says members and their two guests were flying Friday from the northwest Illinois community of Lake in the Hills
to Clearwater, Fla.

He says they planned to stop along the way in West Virginia to
look at a plane for sale.

UPDATE on Sunday, February 1st

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Polish Newspaper FAKTYChicago is reporting the people on board the plane that crashed in Wayne County are Polish Americans from Chicago.

According to the report, translated by a reporter for TVN24 Poland's largest cable network, four of the people on board were pilots, and members of a Polish Aero-Club in Chicago. Another man and woman on the plane were not associated with the club.

It's still not clear where they were heading, but the reports say they were going to look at an aircraft they wished to purchase.

TVN24 has confirmed a vigil will be held at a church in Chicago for the six victims. It's set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Constance Church.

UPDATE on Saturday, January 31st
KENOVA, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Federal and local officials say they still are not sure about the origin or destination of a small private plane that crashed near Tri-State Airport Friday afternoon, killing six people. However, Tri-State Airport Director of Operations Kevin Price says the pilot was not initially planning to land at Tri-State.

Authorities updated the media and public on the investigation at a news conference this afternoon. Price said the pilot was having difficulty staying on the course provided by the airport controller.

The pilot received permission to land at Tri-State after he called in saying he was low on fuel.

Price said the pilot was in communication with the control tower for approximately 15 minutes before the plane went down.

Price also said that visibility at the time of the crash was low at ground level.

The names of six people that died have not been released, but Price says they all appeared to be adults.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) along with two members of the FAA are in Wayne County processing the scene.

Brian Rayner is heading the investigation for the NTSB.

"It was a significant event," Rayner told reporters Saturday afternoon.

Rayner said there was a faint odor of fuel in various parts of the wreckage and evidence of some fire in parts.

Rayner said his first priority is to get the engines off the hillside for further investigation. He said they are actively searching for a propeller blade as part of the investigation. If anyone finds the blade, Rayner asks that you contact authorities.

Rayner said the investigation could last a year.

Click on the "slideshow" link above to see pictures of the crashed plane courtesy WSAZ e-Reporters Matt Roberts and James Webb.

UPDATE @ 10:45pm
According to the FAA, a sixth victim has been found in the wreckage of a private plane that crashed in Wayne County. A news conference is scheduled at noon Saturday.

UPDATE @ 9:10pm
The FAA confirms to WSAZ.com that a fifth victim has been found in the wreckage in rural Wayne County. An FAA official said the information was provided to her agency by local authorities.

UPDATE @ 7:54pm
The FAA confirms to WSAZ.com that a fourth victim was found in the wreckage of a small, private plane that crashed in Wayne County Friday afternoon.

UPDATE @ 4:57pm
Peter Knudson with the NTSB confirms to WSAZ.com that a Piper PA-34 aircraft with tail number N8047C crashed at 1:37 EST.

Knudson says three people were on board and all three were pronounced dead at the scene.

The plane crashed in a wooded area 2.5 miles southeast of Tri-State Airport.

At the time of the crash, the weather conditions were considered “instrument meteorological conditions” (IMC), according to Knudson. This means that the pilot’s visibility was limited.

A NTSB investigator is on his way to the scene from Virginia. He will look at all factors and hope to release more information early next week.

UPDATE @ 3:37pm
The only plane registered to Wesvin Inc out of Wilmington, Delaware, is a 1975 Piper PA-34-200T, although no flight plan was filed for the plane today. Director of Tri-State Airport, Jerry Brienza, told WSAZ.com earlier that the plane was a Beechcraft Baron.

The Piper has 7 seats and 2 engines.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE @ 3:14pm
From The Associated Press
KENOVA, W.Va. (AP) - Three people were killed when a twin-engine plane crashed near Tri-State Airport shortly after the pilot radioed the aircraft was low on fuel.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said the plane crashed Friday afternoon as air traffic controllers were trying to help the pilot navigate to the airport.

Peters said controllers lost contact with the pilot after the plane made a sudden 180 degree turn about 1 mile from the Wayne County airport.

He said the plane is registered to a Wilmington, Del.-based company called Wesvin Inc.

Plymale Branch resident Amanda Smith told The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington that she heard a loud crash and saw nearby power lines shake, and then the power went out.

UPDATE @ 2:50pm
Jerry Brienza, the director of Tri-State Airport, tells WSAZ.com that this is now a recovery effort, not a rescue effort. They don't believe there are any survivors.

He says it is a small engine Baron aircraft that was running low on fuel and made an emergency call to the tower. It seats between four and six people.

Brienza says the pilot had an unknown point of origin. He first alerted the tower that he was low on fuel and then stated he was very low on fuel in a second call.

The plane crashed about 1.5 miles from the airport.

Right now, Brienza says this was not weather related.

WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A small, private plane has crashed at Tri-State Airport in Wayne County, according to a worker at the control tower.

Gordon Merry, Cabell County's Director of Emergency Services tells WSAZ.com that it was a twin-engine plane that fell short of the runway.

It happened just after 1:30 p.m. Friday near Route 75 between Haney’s branch and Plymale Branch.

Walter Stroud, a witness to the crash, tells WSAZ.com that the plane hit high voltage power lines on its way down. He noted that the plane was flying lower than normal and saw flames come from the crash site.

Another witness, Patricia, tells WSAZ.com that she heard a crash from inside her house.

Route 75 is closed in both directions near the crash site.

A dispatcher says Ceredo, Kenova, Lavalette and England Hills
fire departments as well the West Virginia State Police and Wayne
County sheriff have been sent to the scene.

It is unknown what caused the crash.

Emergency crews are not letting our crews get anywhere near the scene at this point. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for more information.

Photo by WSAZ e-Reporter Matt Roberts.

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