Plane Crash Kills 6, Including Ex-legislator In Ohio

Six people, including a former state legislator who was flying the plane, are dead in the crash of an airplane into a residential neighborhood on the west side of Fremont, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

A single-engine plane crash killed six people, including a prominent former state legislator who was the pilot, Sunday afternoon near Fremont Airport, authorities said.

Killed in the 1 p.m. crash were Gene Damschroder, Sr., 86, of Fremont; Bill Ansted, 62, of Lindsey; Allison Ansted, 23, of Lindsey; Daniel Gerwin, 31, of Gibsonburg; Emily Gerwin, 4, of Gibsonburg, and Matt Clearman, 25, of Maumee.

According to troopers at the Ohio Highway Patrol post in Fremont, the Cessna 68 crashed shortly after take-off into a residential area east of the airport, killing all on board. No structures were struck and no one on the ground was injured.

Rex Damschroder virtually grew up flying; his father, Gene Damschroder, owns Fremont Airport."There was an airplane parked in a hangar right through my bedroom wall," the younger Mr. Damschroder said.
Rex Damschroder, a son who followed his footsteps into the Ohio legislature, said Mr. Damschroder was hosting a Lions’ Club pancake breakfast at the airport and taking people up for airplane rides during that event. Rex Damschroder said he was not there when the plane crashed.

"One of the witnesses told me he heard the engine sputter, but that was about it," the younger Mr. Damschroder said.

Gene Damschroder, whose flying days dated back to military experience during World War II, had bought the Cessna 68 new 40 years ago and maintained it meticulously.

"He had a long flying career. He was a highly experienced pilot," Rex Damschroder said. "It was an accident — a misfortune. He’s been flying since he was 20. Flying was his life."

Federal Aviation Administration representatives were on the scene and the National Transportation Safety Board dispatched investigators, the highway patrol said.

FAA records show that Mr. Damschroder was licensed to fly both single and multi-engine aircraft over land or sea and was certified to fly by instruments. He also was a certified flight instructor and airframe and engine mechanic.

NTSB investigations of fatal plane crashes typically take a year or more to complete and involve inquiry into multiple aspects of a flight, including the pilot, the airplane, and the weather.

There were no storms in the Fremont area at the time of the crash, but weather was hot and breezy. Hot weather reduces airplanes’ aerodynamic lift, so they can’t fly with as much weight as they might under cooler conditions, but Rex Damschroder said he doubted his father’s plane was overloaded.

The plane crashed within a mile of the east end of Fremont Airport’s runway in an open field surrounded by houses. It clipped a tree on its way down.

Sphere: Related Content