Centerport, PA Private Plane Crashes, June 1968
SIX PERSONS DIE IN BERKS COUNTY PLANE ACCIDENT.
Reading, Pa. (AP) -- Six persons died Wednesday night when a twin-engine plane crashed into a cornfield near Centerport, Pa., during a thunderstorm.
A state police spokesman at the Hamburg, Pa., barracks said today a flight plan had indicated seven were aboard, but that only six bodies were found.
The sheriff's office in Erie County, N.Y., said the pilot of the plane ROBERT D. PAGE, 37, of Eden, N.Y. They also said the other victims -- including a woman and child -- were believed to be from western New York.
The craft -- a Cessna 401 -- was enroute from Westchester, N.Y. to Dunkirk, N.Y., when it crashed in northern Berks County.
Witnesses in the rural area about two miles west of Pa. 61 said the crash occurred during a violent storm.
One said she heard a noise that sounded "like a hot-rod." When she went out to look, she saw the plane -- outlined by several flashes of lightning -- roaring earthward in a tailspin.
On impact, she said, the plane burst into flames "that lit up the sky."
Aviation authorities said the plane was owned by Teterboro Aircraft Services Inc. of Teterboro, N.J. but was registered to Air Associates of Dunkirk.
They said the plane took off from Westchester about 7:15 p.m. but immediately encountered thunderstorms and veered south of its planned route.
They said it was being controlled by the New York Air Control Center in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., which lost contact with it about 9:15 p.m. They estimated the plane crashed about five minutes later, after flying at an altitude of 8,000 feet.
Police said three of the male occupants were thrown clear of the wreckage. The other bodies remained in the debris. State police said the bodies were burned badly, delaying identification.
Earlier Wednesday, about 1 p.m. the plane left Dunkirk Municipal Airport, according to airport manager John Nalbone, and was not expected to return that night.
Nalbone said he knew PAGE, the pilot, but not the other passengers. He said PAGE got his private pilot's license about three or four years ago at Dunkirk.
According to Nalbone, PAGE borrowed the aircraft from Teterboro Aircraft Services about four weeks ago and was thinking of buying it.
List of Fatalities:
ROBERT D. PAGE, 37, pilot, of Eden, N.Y.
WILFORD D. SAMUELSON, 52, Hamburg, N.Y., a director of the Oil Heat Institute of Western New York.
PAUL MACAKANJA, 25, of Gowanda, N.Y., an auto sales agency employe.
ROBERT H. LANDON, 30, of Tonawanda, N.Y., a communications equipment salesman.
SHARON CORNELL, 17, of Eden, N.Y.
CYNTHIS STRESSING, 16, of Eden, N.Y.
A seventh man, IRVING KUBASIAK, 42, of Collins, N.Y., had originally been listed among the dead, but State Police reported later that he was not aboard the plane.
Lebanon Daily News Pennsylvania 1968-06-20