LaPorte County Plane Crash Update

Monday night, five people died when a plane crashed in a LaPorte County cornfield. They have been identified all as Iowa residents.

“As coroner, I'm a father also when you're looking through the wallets it's tough. You see pictures of wives everything it's tough,” explains John Sullivan, LaPorte County, Chief Deputy coroner.

The victims were pilot: John Mitchell Trewet, 45, from Atlantic, Iowa.

Leslie O'Bannon, 27, of Des Moines, Iowa.

Eric Jacobs, 31, of Ankeny, Iowa.

Thomas Dunphy, 41, of Clive, Iowa.

Joshua Trainor, 23 of Norwalk, Iowa.

“It was a methodical painstaking search in standing corn that had not been picked yet. We went row by row, sometimes on our hands and knees to make these recoveries,” explains Sullivan.

Trewet was partial owner of the plane, according to authorities.

He flew his coworkers from Two Rivers Advertising in Iowa to the South Bend Regional Airport.

However, Federal aviation records show the pilot was not certified as a commercial pilot.

John Trewet was hired to fly the Two Rivers Marketing employees but the F.A.A. records show he was only certified as a private pilot and not allowed to have passengers for hire.

A commercial pilot's license requires more training and a higher medical clearance.

Also, an autopsy conducted Thursday on Trewet shows he did not suffer a heart attack or have any other medical emergency while piloting the plane.

Monday afternoon, the passengers met with Medtech Ambulance Corporation in Goshen. The five were designing a new web page for Medtech.

They reportedly left Goshen at 5:30 Monday afternoon, went to supper, then took off from South Bend and were lost on radar by 8:25 PM.

“We did get preliminary data this morning and that indicated that the aircraft had climbed to an altitude of about 5,700 feet and entered a spiral,” explains Pam Sullivan, NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator.

The engine and other mangled remains of this plane were gathered and have been taken to a hanger.

The NTSB will spend months examining every possibility before they determine why the plane went down.

Early reports are that the pilot seemed to be experienced, and there was no evidence the plane was having problems.

Meantime, the bodies of the others will be flown back home to family and friends in Iowa.


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