Plane crash victims are identified

DANBURY TWP. Passing cars slowed to a stop when driving down Port Clinton Eastern Road to catch a gl
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Passing cars slowed to a stop when driving down Port Clinton Eastern Road to catch a glimpse of wreckage from Saturday's plane crash that killed four people.

Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the four victims as; Pilot David Eckstein, 67, his wife, Janet Hanna, 66, of Shelby, John McCarter, 68, of Mansfield, and his wife Karen Soprano, 62, of Mansfield.

Sgt. Eric Wlodarsky, State Highway Patrol, said the bodies were removed from the plane by 10 p.m. Saturday.

The 1972 Cessna 340 aircraft, with its nose embedded in the ground, was still being cleared away Sunday afternoon.

It crashed into the a backyard of a home Saturday around 12:41 p.m. while heading toward the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board spent much of Sunday investigating the crash scene.

At this point in the investigation, the crash points toward an error on Eckstein's part.

"They checked continuity on the aircraft's control to make sure it was working. And it was working. There was sufficient fuel in the aircraft and everything working on there," Wlodarsky said. "Just to speculate, it might be pilot error. There was no adverse weather, no distress calls."

The FAA investigator said the plane was flying lower and slower than normal. Wlodarsky said an aircraft usually approaches landing around 1,500 feet, but the Cessna was likely flying around 1,000.

Only about two feet of the plane's nose was in the ground, but it appeared to have gone deeper because the impact of the crash smashed the plane.

"The ground is tough when you have something that big coming into it," Wlodarsky said. "It's hitting a blunt object and it just kind of disintegrated it."

Once cleared, the aircraft will be kept at Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport for the remainder of the investigation. Elizabeth Isham Cory, FAA spokeswoman, said the investigation is a long way from complete.

"The investigation is in it's very early stages. We're still gathering information and we're going to be gathering information for a long time," she said.

It's possible the investigation could take up to a year to complete.