Laurelton, PA Private Plane Crash, Jul 1989


Laurelton, Pa. (AP) - The pilot killed in a plane crash in Union County earlier this week also was the pilot more than six years ago in a Berks County plane crash that killed three prominent Pottstown area residents.
RICHARD F. COOK, 48, and his wife, GRACE, 43, of the Boyertown area, were killed Sunday when their single-engine plane crashed in a heavily wooded area on Buffalo Mountain near Selinsgrove, state police at the Milton barracks said.
On Dec. 1, 1982, Richard Cook was the pilot of a Piper Cherokee that crashed into Rattlesnake Hill in Douglas Township, Berks County, killing three passengers.
Cook was critically injured in the crash, receiving burns over 20 percent of his body. He was one of two survivors.
On Sunday, the COOKS left Bradford Regional Airport in McKean County in rainy weather bound for Pottstown Municipal Airport. Their 200-mile flight should have taken about an hour and a half, officials said.
The wreckage of their low-wing Piper Cherokee was not found until Monday morning, police said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. The cause has not yet been determined said Frank Ghiorsi, the board's northeast regional director in New York.
The COOKS left Bradford Regional Airport at 9:17 a.m., airport manager Craig Bickle said. Bickle said the COOKS had flown between Bradford and Pottstown airports frequently over the last three or four months.
"They had bought a farm up here and were in the process of moving in," Bickle said. The property was in Burtville, outside Port Allegheny on the McKean-Potter County line.
At 9:59 a.m., Bickle said the airport had its last radio contact with the plane. Although Bickle did not personally receive the call, he said COOK reported "trouble" with the flight.
David Hege, an official of the Civil Air Patrol in Centre Hall, one of three civil air patrol groups that assisted state police in recovering the wreckage, also said COOK made a distress call to the Federal Aviation
Operation Center in New York at about 10:45 a.m.
"What I'm told is that he said was
'Mayday, my aircraft is spinning out of control at 7,000 feet,'" Hege said.
At the time of the Rattlesnake Hill crash, Cook was a pilot for Basco Flying Service of Pottstown Municipal Airport. Passengers on the flight were traveling from Philadelphia to Pottstown.

Gettysburg Times Pennsylvania 1989-07-20