Megan Hilty asks for help searching for bodies of family members killed in plane crash.
This story was reported by Megan Hilty and was used with her permission.
On July 10, 2013, three members of the same family and their extended family members died in a single-engine plane crash over the Allegheny Mountains near Mount Washington in northeastern Kentucky. The cause of the accident was not determined.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, it was a plane that had taken off from Louisville Airport, on its way to Philadelphia International Airport and back home to the family’s home in Ohio.
Although the family had a valid pilot’s certificate, the plane wasn’t equipped with a transponder, an electronic device programmed by the manufacturer that automatically sends pilot instructions along with the plane’s flight path. That’s why the family didn’t know the plane had been in a crash until they arrived in Kentucky.
When family members reached the crash site, they discovered they had to dig out bodies from underneath the plane. The National Transportation Safety Board found that the plane had crashed into a hillside several hundred yards from the ground. It wasn’t immediately certain whether this was due to a mechanical failure or whether the pilot had lost control.
While some members of the family survived the accident, others were killed or severely injured. The NTSB said that as the plane was coming in, one of the seats in the rear of the plane collapsed, forcing people to jump into the wreckage. The remaining passengers remained strapped into what was left of the seats for several minutes.
The NTSB said that the family’s loved ones had been killed in an accident while trying to help others.
“The fact that we found so many bodies at once — and some that were badly decomposed — is really a testament to the people that were there to support and help each other,” NTSB investigator Robert Mulligan said in a statement. “It is heartwrenching to think that one person could have so many people depending on them.”
A spokesperson for the family said that the plane was owned by a private airline