Investigation continues in Crystal Lake plane crash; victims identified

Investigation continues in Crystal Lake plane crash

 
 
Updated 5/4/2012 2:09 PM
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  • Investigators walk around the plane crash wreckage in a gravel pit in Crystal Lake just east of the Lake in the Hills airport Thursday afternoon.

    Investigators walk around the plane crash wreckage in a gravel pit in Crystal Lake just east of the Lake in the Hills airport Thursday afternoon. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA.

    A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA. COURTESY OF ABC 7 CHICAGO

  • A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA.

    A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA. COURTESY OF ABC 7 CHICAGO

  • A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA.

    A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA. COURTESY OF ABC 7 CHICAGO

  • COURTESY OF ABC7 CHICAGOA single-engine plane crashed into the ground directly east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA.

    COURTESY OF ABC7 CHICAGOA single-engine plane crashed into the ground directly east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA.

  • A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA.

    A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA. COURTESY OF ABC 7 CHICAGO

  • A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA.

    A single-engine plane crashed into the ground in Crystal Lake east of Lake in the Hills Airport on Thursday afternoon. Two fatalities are reported by the FAA. COURTESY OF ABC 7 CHICAGO

  • Wreckage of a small plane rests in a gravel pit after crashing near the Lake in the Hills airport Thursday afternoon.

    Wreckage of a small plane rests in a gravel pit after crashing near the Lake in the Hills airport Thursday afternoon. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wreckage of a small plane rests in a gravel pit after crashing near the Lake in the Hills airport Thursday afternoon.

    Wreckage of a small plane rests in a gravel pit after crashing near the Lake in the Hills airport Thursday afternoon. John Starks | Staff Photographer

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are due to return this morning to the wreckage of a single-engine plane that crashed near a busy Crystal Lake intersection, authorities said.

The crash killed 82-year-old Paul Sanfilippo of Round Lake Park, to whom the plane was registered, and 65-year-old Hugh Scott Clark of Lake Forest, officials from the McHenry County Coroner's Office said Thursday.

Officials from the coroner's office said it remained unclear late Thursday which of the men was piloting the plane. Autopsies are scheduled for today.

Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Gene Lowrey said officials from the NTSB and FAA will be on scene today to continue investigating the cause of the crash. However, he said, no additional details of the crash were released overnight.

Sanfilippo was the president of the business General Aviation Consulting, based in Round Lake Park.

The site of the crash, reported to authorities at 3:15 p.m., was due east of the Lake in the Hills Airport, just southwest of the intersection of Rakow and Virginia roads in Crystal Lake.

Upon arrival, police and paramedics from Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills had to walk several hundred yards to access the downed Beech 35 Bonanza.

The gravel pit area where the plane went down is free of trees and buildings, but its marshy and muddy conditions prohibited access by normal police and fire rescue vehicles.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the single-engine plane was airborne immediately east of the Lake in the Hills Airport, where it had landed earlier in the day.

Witnesses told investigators that the plane may have been attempting to return to the airport when it began to decelerate just before impact.

Two occupants of the airplane were discovered dead at the scene, but witnesses who posted details to Facebook said two other people were seen walking from the wreckage.

Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Gene Lowery said his department also received that information but so far has been unable to confirm or refute it.

As of Thursday night, Lowery said he had no information on how many passengers the plane could have held.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are conducting the crash investigation with assistance from the Crystal Lake police and fire rescue departments and the McHenry County coroner's office.

The scene of the crash will be secured until the investigation and recovery operations are complete, Lowery said.

• Daily Herald staff writer Eric Peterson contributed to this report.

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