Plane crash victims still unnamed
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 October 4, 2012 1:18PM
Workers remove a section of plane Thursday at the Gary crash site. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 6, 2012 6:23AM
GARY — The identities of the pilot and passenger in a single-engine plane that crashed Wednesday near a charter school at 7th Avenue and Clark Road still have not been released.
The Lake County Coroner’s office did not release any information on the crash victims Thursday, saying the matter is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said officials from Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board remained at the scene Thursday sifting for clues into the fiery crash that narrowly missed the school.
The Cirrus SR22, which took off Wednesday morning from Smyrna, Tenn., crashed at 11:18 a.m. as it began an approach to the Gary/Chicago International Airport.
NTSB air safety investigator Michael Folkerts said officials have completed their on-scene investigation, and they are moving pieces of the aircraft to another location for further analysis. Folkerts said a preliminary report will be released in about 10 days. Folkerts said this plane did not have a data recorder that was protected by a black box, but there are potentially some other sources of flight data.
Eyewitness Frances Guyton-Ward said the plane’s engine sputtered, cutting in and out, and then “the plane just fell out of the sky.”
The coroner’s office finished removing the bodies about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Director John Black said he didn’t know who owned the plane or who might have been onboard. He said the plane arrived at the airport Tuesday night and departed Wednesday morning.
The plane is registered to Gandy AIR LLC in St. Augustine, Fla., according to the FAA.
Gandy AIR LLC is listed as owned by Patsy J. Crisafi, who lives on Ryan Road in St. Augustine. The St. Johns County Airport Authority confirmed that Crisafi did have a hangar at Northeast Florida Regional Airport on U.S. 1 in St. Augustine. No one answered at the Gandy Air telephone number.
A Florida television station is speculating that Crisafi, 48, a businessman and a pilot, may have been on the plane. No confirmation has been received, however.
Crisafi is president of Crisafi Services Inc. He’s also the registered agent for Gandy Air LLC and vice president for Roadway Worker Training Inc.
When it crashed in a wooded area just south of the West Gary Lighthouse Charter School, the plane exploded, breaking into pieces and bursting into flames. The debris covered a 40-square-foot area on the eastern edge of Brunswick Park.
Officials said the plane was scheduled to arrive at 11:19 a.m. at the Gary Jet Center. The crash site is less than 2 miles southeast of the airport and south of the Commons shopping center.