Old Forge, PA Private Plane Crash, Jan 2000


Federal investigators are still trying to determine what caused a twin engine Cessna to crash Thursday evening near a residential neighborhood in Old Forge, killing both of the plane's occupants.
Lackawanna County Deputy Coroner Joseph Swoboda said VLADIMER KELLACHOW, JR., 36, of Waymart, and JEROLD S. WEINER, 55, of Blairstown, N.J., died in the 5:36 p.m.
Robert Flanagan, director of the Lackawanna County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), said the six-seat Cessna 310, owned by Tech Aviation, narrowly missed several homes and burst into flames when it hit the ground. Initial reports indicated that the plane may have run out of fuel, but Flannagan said about 100 gallons were still in the tanks after the crash.
Tech Aviation was not releasing information about the crash Friday night.
Although it is not known if the plane was on a training flight, investigators said it had performed
"touch-and-go" maneuvers prior to the crash. They have yet to determine who was flying the plane when it crashed just one mile from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
However, officials said WEINER was a Navy pilot who had approximately 30 years experience at the controls of an aircraft.
According to Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane left New Haven, Conn. en-route to Avoca, a trip of 175 miles.
For a crew from WNEP-TV 16, it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
Cameraman Frank Deom and reporter Keith Taylor, who were doing a story on road conditions in the area, caught the crash on film.
"We knew there was something odd about the plane," Taylor said in a published report.
"As we came around into the Moosic exit, I saw on the end of the wings what looked like bright lights. When we came around the corner, it looked like somebody shot up Roman candles."
The American Red Cross and airport crews were also at the scene.
Personnel from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are continuing their investigation.

Standard Speaker Hazleton Pennsylvania 2000-01-08