Bellefonte, PA Private Plane Crash, Mar 2005
SIX KILLED IN CRASH EN ROUTE TO GAME.
QUESTIONS SURROUND AIRCRAFT TRAGEDY.
Benner Township, Penna. - Six people were killed Saturday when their single-engine private airplane crashed outside Bellefonte, including the parents and brother of Penn State men's lacrosse team captain.
The plane crashed on Route 150, on its way to University Park Airport, shortly before 2 p.m. All six passengers were killed instantly, and were identified as:
JEFFREY JACOBER, 51.
KAREN JACOBER, 49.
ERIC JACOBER, 15.
GREGG WEINGEROFF, 49.
DAWN WEINGEROFF, 42.
and LELAND WEINGEROFF, 10, all from Providence, R.I.
JEFFREY JACOBER, the plane's pilot, KAREN JACOBER and ERIC JACOBER are the father, mother and brother, respectively, of Mike Jacober, captain of the Penn State men's lacrosse team.
The airplane, a Pilatus PC-12, was traveling from Naples, Fla., to the University Park Airport, Centre County, Director of Administrative Services Tim Boyde said. "The JACOBERS were scheduled
to attend their son's lacrosse game Saturday afternoon.
The plane crashed at the construction site of the new Centre County Correctional Facility where the airplane debris was scattered over several dozen yards.
Bellefonte Fire Department Chief Tim Knisley said about 60 firefighters and emergency responders from Centre County HazMat response team, deputy coroners, sheriff's officers and members of the Civil Air Patrol were on scene after the crash.
Boyde said there was at least one witness, who described a sputtering
sound before the plane nose-dived into the ground.
Senior Air Safety Investigator Paul Cox, with the NTSB, said the investigation regarding the nature of the crash is currently in the initial stages and could take up to a year.
"Right now we're in a fact-finding phase," he said. "What this will result in is a preliminary report. The next phase will result in a factual report."
Cox said the NTSB would release a preliminary report on the crash within the next 10 days.
"We look at the man, the machine and the environment," he said. "We have ruled out nothing."
Cox said the plane did not have voice recorder or flight information recorder, and no distress calls were reported, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Penn State spokesman Tysen Kendig said two planes radioed in emergency calls on Saturday to report ice on their wings. Both flights were able to land safely at University Park.
He added that while the JACOBERS' plane did not radio in any emergency, officials are considering the possibility that it also might have had icing problems.
Cox said that the PC-12 aircraft was equipped with a de-icing system.
Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers said autopsies performed yesterday revealed that the victims died on impact.
Boyde said the NTSB is currently conducting the investigation, and local authorities will be securing the perimeter and assisting them.
Office of Emergency Services (EMA) Director Randy Rockey said the Red Cross will be on the scene assisting investigators and response teams.
"We've never had to deal with anything like this," he said. "But we've all trained for it. From the EMA side, we're trained for any kind of disaster."
Sayers said the bodies of the victims would be sent home to Providence for memorial services.
The P.S.U. Collegian 2005-03-28