Cleveland, OH Plane Plunges Into Lake Erie, Jan 1970
SEARCHERS CONTINUE HUNT FOR 9 VICTIMS.
LAKE ERIE PLANE CRASH.
Cleveland (UPI) -- A Tag Airlines commuter plane which crashed into frozen Lake Erie, killing all nine persons aboard, was in "perfect working condition" just 12 hours before the crash. A search for the victims continues.
"There was nothing mechanically wrong with the plane when I flew it," said WILLIAM SLEPECKY, a co-pilot who made three round trips from Cleveland to Detroit in the twin-prop aircraft the night before it crashed.
"The only thing wrong with it was the handle on the cockpit door was broken and we made a report on that," SLEPECKY said.
The plane, a DeHavilland Dove, crashed through nine inches of ice on the lake Wednesday, about 20 miles northwest of here. The plane was flight 730, which departed Burke Lakefront Airport here for Detroit City Airport with seven passengers and two crew members. No distress signal was received.
The Coast Guard sent two helicopters, the cutters Bramble and Kaw, a 44-foot rescue craft and two fixed-wing planes to the crash scene. The search for the bodies was discontinued at dusk Wednesday and resumed at daybreak.
The Federal Aviation Agency traffic control center at Oberlin, and a five-man team from the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the crash.
"The plane had been flying all day," SLEPECKY said. "I picked it up about 4 p.m. and then flew three round trips to Detroit."
He said since there was no distress signal it was "possible" there could have been an explosion aboard the plane.
The Coast Guard spokesman said if anyone survived the crash he would have frozen in the water.
"We don't know if the pilot tried to land on the ice," the spokesman said.
Wreckage was scattered over a quarter-mile area of the frozen lake, the Coast Guard said.
The victims were identified as JAKE FELDMAN, Parma Heights, the pilot; ROBERT ARTHUR, Freedom, Pa., the co-pilot; J. WILLSON, Conneaut and RICHARD STREICH and CLIFFORD DROULLARD, both of Parma Heights; KENNETH AMBROSIA, Wickliffe, ROBERT WOODRUFF, Euclid, DR. JOHN SAWYER, Cleveland Heights and MARIO BALTMISANO, Willoughby.
It was the first crash for Tag Airlines, a feeder line in the Great Lakes area which was in the process of enlarging its flight schedule.
ROSS MILLER, president of Tag Airlines, said the plane was about 10 years old and was capable of carrying nine passengers and a crew of two.
The Lima Daily News Ohio 1970-01-29