Martinsville, VA Piper Navajo Plane Crash, Nov 1982


Martinsville, Va. (AP) -- Six members of a Baltimore-area family and two of their friends have died in an airplane crash that went undiscovered for nearly 17 hours until the pilot of another plane spotted the wreckage in dense woods.
The twin-engine Piper Navajo, piloted by a Baltimore construction company executive, went down in fog and drizzling rain between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday after taking off from Blue Ridge Airport about 10 miles west of this southern Virginia city, authorities said.
The wreckage was not discovered until nearly noon Monday about 1,500 feet from the airport's only runway, said state Trooper Larry Hypes.
Earlier Sunday, the travelers had celebrated the third birthday of TIMOTHY FROMM, grandson of the pilot and his wife and son of the couple's daughter and son-in-law. All died in the crash, which occurred less than a mile from the tiny airport.
Martinsville-Henry County Hospital spokeswoman Helen Schemhl identified the dead as:
J. EDGAR STEIGERWALD, JR., 53, the pilot.
LOIS STEIGERWALD, 48, his wife.
AMY STEIGERWALD, 18, his daughter.
PAMELA STEIGERWALD FROMM, about 30, another daughter.
TIMOTHY G. FROMM, about 30, her husband.
TIMOTHY FROMM, 3, their son.
The Steigerwalds lived in Towson, Md.
Dr. John P. Bing said that "almost certainly" the victims died from the impact of the crash and not from exposure to temperatures that dropped into the 20s Sunday night. The plane did not catch fire.
Steigerwald was president of J. E. Steigerwald Co., Inc., a Baltimore construction company founded by his father.
FROMM and his wife, MISS STEIGERWALD and MISS GOSHORN were students at the Evangelical Institute in Greenville S.C., a two-year independent Bible school with about 80 students, said Daniel Johnson, dean of men at the school. MISS COPELAND was a student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The victims had been vacationing at a home owned by the Steigerwalds, located on the Smith River in nearby Patrick County.
They had arrived at Blue Ridge Airport on Thursday afternoon and had spend four days at the home, said Dale Maddox, family friend and caretaker at the residence.
The plane apparently crashed at a steep angle shortly after takeoff, according to Clyde Richardson, manager of the airport, which is located about 50 miles south of Roanoke near the North Carolina line. It clipped off the top of a couple of trees before shearing a large oak tree about eight feet off the ground.

The Capital Annapolis Maryland 1982-11-16