NTSB report: Plane landed nose down in mud in fatal Monroe County crash
The home-built plane that crashed last month in Monroe County, killing the pilot and a passenger, landed nose down in about 4 to 6 feet of mud about three minutes into a 30-minute flight, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released this week.
The report does not say what caused the plane to crash, only indicating that radar data showed that the experimental amateur-built Vans RV-8 airplane was headed east on the afternoon of Sept. 17 before making a 180-degree turn to the west at an altitude of 1,700 feet.
Radar contact was lost at 12:18 p.m., 35 seconds after the change in direction, the report says.
John H. Parker Jr., 65, of Saylorsburg and Matthew J. Berszoner, 34, of Nazareth were killed in the crash. The plane was found the next morning in a swampy wooded area in Hamilton Township.
Parker was a well-established local pilot, a well-known retired area businessman and a board member for the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority, the Brodhead Creek Regional Authority, Pocono Mountain Industrial Park and Hamilton Township Zoning and Hearing Board.
Berszoner, originally of the Chicago area, was a former Air Force pilot who flew for United Airlines. He was interested in becoming part owner of the plane, authorities said.
It is unclear who was piloting the craft when it crashed.
The NTSB report says the plane took off at 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 17 from Pegasus Airpark near Brodheadsville. The plane was registered to the pilot and two co-owners, and was operated by the pilot as a personal flight. No flight plan was filed for the local flight, the report says.
Citing state police, the NTSB report says the pilot was giving a demonstration flight to the “pilot-rated” passenger who was interested in buying a share of the plane. The flight was intended to last 30 minutes. When the plane did not return, the pilot’s family reported it missing.
The plane was located the next day in wetlands on private property about 3 miles eastnortheast of the airport, the NTSB report says.
A close friend of Parker’s, searching by helicopter, discovered the wreckage on a farm on Neyhart Road.
It took hours for emergency workers to retrieve the victims from the swampy, wooded area.
The NTSB said there was no post-impact fire and the engine and airplane wreckage were recovered for further examination.
Morning Call reporter Manuel Gamiz Jr. can be reached at 610-820-6595 or [email protected] mcall.com.