Erie, PA Private Plane Crash, Sep 1985


Erie (AP) - Two married couples from Delaware were aboard a small plane that crashed Saturday night at Erie International Airport, killing the pilot, his wife and brother-in-law and critically injuring the pilot's sister, authorities said.
Pilot JAMES CONK, 52, and his wife, SUSAN CONK, 44, of Smyrna, Del., and DALE LEWIS, 49, also of Smyrna, died instantly of massive trauma, said Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook.
LEWIS'S wife, TERRI, who is JAMES CONK'S sister, survived. She remained in critical condition Sunday at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, hospital officials said.
The single-engine Cherokee took off from Jamestown, N.Y., and was coming in for a landing when in crashed at the Millcreek Golf Course at about 9:45 p.m. Saturday, flipping over and trapping the victims, authorities said.
Airport police Chief David Bagnoni said it appeared the plane crashed after running out of fuel. The aircraft had stopped in Jamestown to get gas but was apparently unable to do so, and crashed a half-mile from the end of the runway in Erie, Bagnoni said.
Jamestown Aviation provides fuel on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., but there is a number posted for pilots to call in the event the fueling station is closed, Department of Public Facilities Director George Spanos said.
"There's a procedure you're supposed to follow," Spanos told the Post-Journal of Jamestown on Sunday night. "Nobody called that number."
The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating, but officials with that agency didn't immediately return calls Sunday.
Airport police said the wreckage was removed Sunday, after investigators had finished examining the crash site.

Indiana Gazette Pennsylvania 1985-09-09