Crash investigation continues

By R. Scott Lohman

In the aftermath of the tragic Hinckley plane crash which killed 11 skydivers and a pilot Monday, no cause has been determined yet and victims still are being identified.

As of Tuesday night, the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office was still in the process of identifying the victims. Because the dead had been severely burned, dental records were being used to identify them.

The victims are Ed Baron, DeKalb; Chris Baron, Naperville; Donald Anderson, Dyer, Ind.; Matt Bailey, St. John, Ind.; William Bayne, Baltimore, Md.; Bill Davidson, Chicago; George Dvorak, Berywn; Ron Harris, Spring Valley, Ill.; Glenn Holden, Chicago; Jim Mahr, Sugar Grove, Ill.; John Murphy, St. John, Ind.; and Rick Olchivek, Cicero.

The Hinckley Parachute Center, where the plane took off, is owned by Jim Baron, who is the father of victims Ed and Chris Baron.

Brent Bahler, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson, said it most likely will take between 9 and twelve months to determine the cause of this accident.

“We do have one witness who told our investigators that he saw

smoke coming from the left engine before it crashed,” Bahler said. “We’ll look at the plane’s maintenance records, look at the pilot’s record and his training, everything. Nothing has been ruled out.”

Stephen Lee, Hinckley resident and witness to the crash, said he saw the Beechcraft D-18 twin-engine plane flying about 40-50 feet in the air. He said he thought the plane was a cropduster at first, but it was too slow and wavering to be dusting crops. The plane then went down and “cartwheeled” in the bean field, he said. It exploded on impact.

Reid Rissman, DeKalb County Deputy Coroner, said the 12 men died instantly on impact.

Beechcraft 18 planes have had trouble in the past with fatal accidents.