Atlantic City, NJ Private Plane Crash, June 1973


Atlantic City, N.J. (UPI) -- Federal investigators planned to inspect the wreckage of a light plane today which crashed here, killing all three passengers aboard.
Police said there had been no radio contact Sunday with nearby Atlantic City Airport before the single-engine Monney craft plunged into waters near the Steel Pier.
The victims were identified as:
ROBERT L. CUSTER, 49, the pilot from Willow Grove, Pa.
NANCY LYNN CUSTER, 15, his daughter.
MICHELLE O'DONNELL, 15, his daughter's friend, of Upper Marlton, Pa.
Police said they believed the craft took off from the Northeast Philadelphia Airport and apparently was attempting to land when it crashed. An airport spokesman said they had no record of the flight.
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to sift through the wreckage today.
The plane crashed at 3:08 p.m. about two blocks northeast of the Steel Pier. The victims were trapped inside and were not reached until 45 minutes later by a Coast Guard cruiser which towed the plane to a nearby beach.
PAUL CARR, an Atlantic City life guard, said he and others dove through surface oil for the submerged plane but were unable to open its doors or see anyone inside.
"It went under instantly. We couldn't see anyone until we got the plane back to the beach," he said.
Ptl. JOSEPH S. RIFICE said a man fishing at the end of the pier, said the plane sounded as if it were losing altitude.
"It was so foggy," RIFICE said, "he didn't see the plane. And then he heard a crash."
A dog aboard the craft was also killed.

Delaware County Daily Times Chester Pennsylvania 1973-06-04


My dad and aunt went to

My dad and aunt went to school with them too. Who is this??

Plane Crash Realitive

Thank you for posting such nice words here about the Custer's. It was a tragic day that changed the family forever. I was married to the oldest son but was divorced from him when this happened. I was however, still very close to the family and remained so. The rumor was that Bud Custer committed suicide as he was very ill and had many family issues going on at the time with Nancy. This of course was never proven but being in the family there were many reasons to believe so. My son still misses his grand father and we think about them all the time.
Thanks again.

I remember the three of them

I remember the three of them too. They were son and grandchildren of our next door neighbor, Katherine Simpson, and often came down to 33rd street in brigantine to visit. We would play cards together. I recall the day Katherine frantically came over to give us this horrible news. So young; so sad.

Nancy & Michelle

I was in Nancy & Michelle's class in school. We were in 9th grade. I attended both of their viewings. I can remember this like it was yesterday.

Nancy's family lived two blocks from my parents' house. We went to elementary school together. I don't remember what year, but Nancy's family had a bad house fire when we were in elementary school. I remember the neighborhood all got together to help them after the fire.

Nancy and I were playing at my parents' house in the living room when my mom got the phone call her father, my grandfather, had passed away.

My regards to both Nancy's and Michelle's family. They were both very well liked in school. The school gathered the whole class together outside to talk to us and help us with our grief. We were so young. Actually, even though so much time has past, I think of them often. For years I never went to Atlantic City, especially the Pier, because of their deaths.