NTSB re­port: Plane landed nose down in mud in fa­tal Mon­roe County crash

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Manuel Gamiz Jr.

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.

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