The two people identified in Monday’s plane crash at Weir Lake


WEIRSDALE — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office recovered Monday night the body of the second person from the plane that crashed into Weir Lake.

This second person, Scott Bingham, 72, was the passenger of the Pitts Model 12 biplane, which crashed around 1 p.m.

The pilot was identified as Joseph Hutton, 64. People boating on the lake recovered his body immediately after the accident. Hutton had jumped from the plane, according to witnesses, but his parachute did not open.

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A six-member unit from the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team recovered the plane wreckage from the bottom of Weir Lake, approximately 21 feet deep. Visibility was only 6 inches to 1 foot, so they had to work by touch.

The team arrived at the scene around 1 p.m. and in the water around 3 p.m. The plane landed at 11 p.m. Bingham’s body was still on the plane.

Although the Federal Aviation Administration and the Sheriff’s Office are participating in the investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is taking the lead.

Sheriff’s Office Dive Team Details

Lt. Billy Padgett, supervisor of the sheriff’s office dive team, said when they arrived at the scene, the tail of the plane was about a foot under water. Padgett said by the time the divers entered the water, the plane was on the bottom.

Padgett said the divers took a pontoon boat into the water and were assisted by three other vessels, including two from his agency.

The divers entered the water and were able to attach lift bags to the front and rear of the aircraft. The elevators are designed to lift up to 2,200 pounds, the lieutenant said. The divers also attached four 200-pound lift bags to the rear of the aircraft.

A harness was clipped to the aircraft and the craft was pulled out of the water. Padgett said the trip from the water to the dock was about a mile and a half.

With the poor visibility and the plane badly damaged, Padgett said the divers decided it was safer to leave the passenger inside the plane. The body was removed from the plane once they reached land.

The plane remained at the dock overnight and a sheriff’s deputy stood guard until investigators arrived Tuesday morning.

The plane was placed on a tray and removed from the site.

The status of the inquiry

An NTSB spokesman said Tuesday the mangled aircraft would be taken to a safe location for examination.

The spokesman said his agency will review the records and try to determine, among other things, whether the plane had any mechanical problems or structural failure, whether it encountered bad weather or had any problems. of maintenance.

A first report will be released within 12 working days, the spokesperson said. The final report could take 12 to 24 months.

More information about the victims

The victims lived at Leeward Air Ranch, a flying community in southeast Marion County.

Ralph Sebexen, a resident of Leeward Air Ranch, said he had known the two men for years. He said they were neighbors.

The men were pilots and part of a Glider Club that had about half a dozen members in Leeward, Sebexen said. Bingham launched the Glider Club, Sebexen said. He said the club members would fly their planes together.

Hutton had had the plane for about a year and Bingham was showing him a maneuver, Sebexen said.

Sebexen said Bingham was Mr. Personality, who could “steal anything”.

He said Bingham was an instructor. Hutton and Bingham flew frequently, Sebexen said.

“They loved to fly. They were great guys and they did what they love to do,” Sebexen said.

Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, [email protected] or @almillerosb.

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