Plane crash kills five IU music school students
Indiana University and its Jacobs School of Music mourn the loss of five graduate students this weekend in a plane crash near the Monroe County airport.
Authorities identified the five students as Robert Clayton Samels, Zachary J. Novak, Garth A. Eppley, Georgina H. Joshi and Chris Bates Carducci.
IU masters student Joshi, 24, from South Bend, has been listed as the pilot of the single-engine Cessna 206 that crashed Thursday night near Monroe County Airport after a flight from by Lafayette.
Federal investigators said a final decision on the cause of the crash could take up to a year, but a preliminary report is expected to take about a week.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ed Malinowski said a team from his department and the Federal Aviation Administration would focus on three things.
“We’re going to be looking at the plane, the pilot and the weather,” said Malinowski.
The students were returning from a rehearsal for a concert in Lafayette. “This is a tragic loss for the university family,” IU President Adam Herbert said at a press conference at the Van Buren Township Fire Department.
The faculty, staff and students of the School of Music are very close, “he said.” It’s a family atmosphere. The students take it very hard. “
The students had flown to Lafayette to rehearse a concert by the Bach Chorale Singers in that city. The concert, scheduled for tonight at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Lafayette, has been canceled.
Gwyn Richards, dean of the music school, was meeting with family members of the killed students on Friday evening.
IU’s dean of students, Dick McKaig, said the university made grief counselors available to students who knew them. “As we find out who their friends were, we will contact them,” he said.
Indiana State Police spokesperson Sgt. Joe Watts said the plane disappeared from radar around midnight. Watts said the wreckage was found just south of the Monroe County Airport – now officially known as Kisters Field – around 4:15 a.m. Friday.
The crash site was a densely forested area southwest of the intersection of the Kirby and airport roads, south of a railway bridge at this location.
Rescuers reported that there had been no fire and the severely damaged aircraft was found upside down.
From above, the visible wreckage was concentrated in a very small area. The remaining pieces had not been moved and could be left in place until Sunday.
Authorities said the pilot turned on airport lights from the cockpit but never landed.
Malinowski said the flight would have left Lafayette around 11 p.m. Joshi had recorded an estimated flight time of 40 minutes for the trip.
Until he disappeared from the radar screens of aviation authorities in Terre Haute and Indianapolis, everything was routine, but Malinowski said he and Federal Aviation Administration officials had yet to review recorded communications between aircraft and air traffic control towers.
A massive search for the aircraft began with several calls from West Ind’s 5200 block. 45 reporting an aircraft flying at low altitude at around 11:40 p.m.
Callers described “the spitting and spitting of a plane” and the sound of “extreme acceleration unusual for a landing plane,” said Ellettsville Deputy Fire Chief Mike Cornman. Some have reported hearing a loud boom. “
I was sitting in front of my computer and heard a loud plane fly over, “said Cristina Brooks.” (I) heard the engines turn twice before the sound. “She said the noise was like a loud“ pop. ”Cornman, the official spokesperson for the Van Buren Fire Department, said a transponder signal from inside the plane had was picked up by Civil Air Patrol planes flying over the site. ”
We had about 60 people looking for the area, but with the plane’s transponder we were able to triangulate the plane’s position and eventually locate it, “Cornman said.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Plane crash kills five