LOCK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) - Aviation accident investigators were looking over the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in north-central Pennsylvania and talking to witnesses Tuesday as federal and local authorities identified the three men killed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said two Forest Service employees from West Virginia and the pilot from New York state died in Monday's crash in Lock Haven, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Dan Snider, 29, of Pentress, W.Va., and Rodney Whiteman, 46, of Morgantown, W.Va., worked for the Forest Health Program of the Northeastern Area and were conducting an aerial pest detection survey, the Forest Service said. Clinton County Coroner Donald Walker identified the pilot as Patrick Jessup, of New York state.
National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator Dennis Diaz said officials are still reviewing the accounts of eyewitnesses and gathering more. He said a preliminary report would be available in a week or two but a probable cause would probably not be released for at least nine months.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane went down Monday as it approached William Piper Memorial Airport. The Cessna 210 struck a house, a utility pole and several vehicles and ended up in the street, but no injuries were reported on the ground.
Airport manager Ed Watson said he believes the pilot did his best to avoid hitting people on the ground.
"He did what any good pilot would do. He avoided the houses. He tried to make it onto the street ... and he did a good job at that," Watson said. "He tried to make it to the airfield, but he didn't have enough altitude to make it. I think it's going to come down to an engine problem."