Pinckneyville, IL Commuter Plane Crashes Into Pond, Oct 1983
AIR ILLINOIS PLANE CRASHES; 10 DEAD.
Pinckneyville, Ill. (AP) -- An Air Illinois plane apparently suffered mechanical failure and tried to made a forced landing in a lightning storm before crashing into a pond, killing all 10 people aboard, police and airline officials said today.
State police spokesman MELVIN KERSTEN said the flight manifest showed seven passengers and three crew members aboard Flight 710 on its daily flight from Chicago to Carbondale when it crashed about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday about 25 miles from its destination.
The British-made, twin-engine Hawker Siddeley 748 plunged to earth near a farm and strip mine in southern Illinois' Perry County about five miles northeast of Pinckneyville
Heavy rains were reported in the area just before the accident. State Police Lt. JOHN RICHTER said the crash site was spread over a-half to three-quarters of a mile, with part of the plane resting in a large pond.
RICHTER said police had sealed off the area for investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Civil Aeronautics Board.
Air Illinois spokeswoman ALICE MITCHELL said the company believed the crash was due to mechanical failure, possibly from lightning. The crew was experienced, she said, with both the pilot and co-pilot having logged more than 5,000 hours of flying time.
MS. MITCHELL said Air Illinois officials believed the plane may have tried to make a forced landing in a field, but ran up a ridge and became airborne once again, when it lost a wing. The wingless fuselage ended up in a pond.
Paramedics said the plane apparently "hit a hill and then some woods and shattered," according to spokeswoman JEANNIE STEWART at Pinckneyville Community Hospital.
JOHN FISHER, 78, who owns land at the crash site, said he and his wife heard the aircraft circle over their property a couple of times before they heard the crash. The FISHERS said they heard no indication of engine trouble before the crash.
The crash was first reported to state police by residents a few minutes after 9 p.m. Tuesday.
The company had made the final payment on the 10-year-old plane at noon Tuesday, company officials said.
The accident was the first fatal crash in Air Illinois 14-year history, MS. MITCHELL said.
She identified the dead crew as Capt. LESTER R. SMITH, 32, Carbondale, the pilot; First Officer FRANK S. TUDOR, 28, of DeSoto, the co-pilot; and BARBARA J. HUFFMAN, 29, of Murphysboro, a flight attendant.
SMITH had more than 2,000 hours of experience in the plane and more than 6,300 hours in total flight time.
TUDOR had accumulated 1,700 hours in the plane and a total 5,113 flight hours.
HUFFMAN was the senior flight attendant for the airline.
The passengers were identified as JEROME LORENZ, no age available, of Carbondale, the director of Southern Illinois University's Rehabilitation Institute; RICHARD BAKER, no age, of Carbondale, a professor in the rehabilitation institute; JEROME BROWN, no age, of Homewood; JUDY CHANTOS, no age of Springfield; JONATHAN CHANTOS, 2, of Springfield.
Indiana Gazette Pennsylvania 1983-10-12
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!