Weyers Cave, VA Commuter Plane Crashes In Mountains, Sep 1985


Weyers Cave, Va. (UPI) -- Rescue teams scaled the 2,500-foot Hall Mountain and recovered the bodies of 14 people Tuesday, most of them businessmen, who were killed when a communter plane crashed into the mountain during poor weather.
Among those killed in Monday's crash of Henson Airlines Flight 1517 were three top executives of Beiersdorf Inc., a South Norwalk, Conn., toiletries firm, along with an official of the company's parent firm in West Germany.
"It was a pretty gruesome sight," said DAVID WHARTON of the Virginia Department of Emergency Services, one of 25 rescuers to arrive at the crash site.
Twelve passengers and two crew members were killed when the plane, enroute from Baltimore to Harrisonburg, Va., disintegrated on impace, scattering debris over a 400-yard area just below the peak of the mountain in the George Washington National Forest.
Freelance photographer TOMMY THOMPSON, among the first on the scene, said, "You could smell the stench of the burned area -- mostly the fuel."
THOMPSON said a melted wing was draped over a tree knocked down by the impact and that bodies were thrown "as far as 30 feet."
Airline officials released a list of the passengers and said most were businessmen from the north.
"It's absolutely devestating," said DON BRENNER of Beiersdorf. "These are three key people. This was a relatively small company and we were very close."
The Beiersdorf executives included FRANK TICHY of Bridgeport, Conn.; BARRY PETERSEN of Trumbull, Conn.; and JOHN BANASZAK of Yonkers, N. Y. JORGE SCHWARZ was from the company's parent firm in Hamburg, West Germany.
The pilot, MARTIN BURNS, initially reported a malfunction in the plane's locater, which establishes position in relation to the runway through bouncing electronic signals. But PATRICIA GOLDMAN of the NTSB said tests immediately after the crash showed the locator was working properly.
Because the Beechcraft 99 was not equipped with a "black box" -- they are not required by the FAA on smaller aircraft -- the NTSB planned to evaluate conversations between the plane and air traffic controllers, GOLDMAN said.
The bodies of 12 victims burned beyond recognition were taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center for identification by dental records, said State Trooper GARY DUDLEY. Two other victims apparently could be identified.
BURNS was a veteran with more than 3,400 flight hours. The co-pilot was ZILDA WOLAN, who had been with Henson for three months.
Henson Airlines, headquartered in Salisbury, Md., was formed in 1931, but became an airline with regularly scheduled flights in 1962. Henson is a subsidiary of Piedmont Airlines of Winston-Salem, N. C.

Pacific Stars and Stripes Tokyo Japan 1985-09-26

Crew and Passengers.
Crew members and passengers who died in the crash of Henson Airlines Beech 99 were identified Tuesday as:
MARTIN EDWARD BURNS III, 26, of Lutherville, Md., Henson Pilot.
ZILDA SPADAROD WOLAN, 26, of Hagerstown, Md., co-pilot.
JOHN FRANCES BANAZAK III, 27, of Yonkers, N.Y., packaging engineer for Beiersdorf Inc.
JAMES E. BERGER, 45, of Elkton, Md., an engineering consultant for DuPont.
BYRON DRUMMOND, 29, of Haworth, N.J., a salesman for Fiberspun Inc. of Staunton.
MICHAEL JAMES McCAFFREY, 24, of Framingham, Mass., a salesman for R.R. Donnelley & Sons.
RICHARD JOSEPH MIKOVITS, 40, of Ridgefield, Conn., senior sales representative for Brockway-Imco Inc.
BARRY ROBERT PETERSEN, 33, of Trumbull, Conn., purchasing manager for Beiersdorf Inc.
JORGE SCHWARTZ of Hamburg, West Germany, a member of the Beiersdorf party.
LARRY SHUE of Glen Ellen, Illinois, a playwright who also performed with the Harlequin Dinner Theater near Washington, D.C., apparently owned land in the Shenandoah Valley.
FRANK TICHY, JR., of Bridgeport, Conn., a member of the Beiersdorf party.
JAMES CARMINE TORIO, 42, of South Setauket, Long Island, N.Y., eastern regional manager for an engineering company.
STEVEN WASSERMAN, 35, of Cherry Hill, N.J., a managerial consultant.
FRANCIS RILEY WILCOXON, 48, of Simsbury, Conn., national sales manager for Dunham-Bush.