(Greensburg, Ind.) – Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have revealed new information about a private airplane crash that claimed the lives of four people.
A plane piloted by Donald Horan, of Greensburg, crashed about 1.5 miles south of the Greensburg Municipal Airport on Sunday at about 6:19 p.m. into a field. The plane then travelled roughly the length of a football field before coming to a rest near a wooded ravine.
Horan, his wife Barbara, and their friends Stephen and Denise Butz all died.
During a Thursday morning press conference on the completed field investigation, NTSB spokesman Stewart Bothwell said that there has been no indication that there was a mechanical issue with Horan’s PA-46 Piper Malibu.
Investigators said the plane’s landing gear was down with wing flaps set to a 10 degree position. It appeared there was fuel being supplied to the engine through the crash, meaning the engine was running at the time of impact.
Weather conditions near the airport were less than ideal at the time of the crash with poor visibility and a low ceiling of 1,500 feet. A weather study is being done o determine conditions at time of crash.
The Horans and Butzes, all residents of Decatur County, were travelling back to Indiana from Destin, Florida Sunday. Their party included another plane which had attempted to land at Greensburg Municipal Airport about 20 minutes earlier. That pilot – who with his passengers was also in Florida with the victims during the weekend – told investigators he declined the landing and continued to an airport in Columbus, Indiana due to the poor visibility.
The two planes were not in radio contact during their flights, investigators said.
There had been some question whether the airport’s runway lights were operating properly, but Bothwell said the radio-activated lights were functioning.
It will take six to nine months to complete the investigation, the NTSB said.
Memorial services for the four victims take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Saint Mary Church in Greensburg. Their joint funerals will be held at Greensburg High School on Friday.