Victims of Greensburg plane crash identified
The victims of a fatal plane crash near Greensburg have been identified.
The victims include pilot Don Horan, his wife Barb, and Stephen Butz and his wife Denise, police confirmed Monday afternoon.
Investigators say the plane crashed Sunday afternoon as it neared the Greensburg airport from Destin, Florida. Witnesses first reported the crash, then the FAA requested assistance from police in searching for the missing aircraft.
Police say the plane appeared to make impact in a field before coming to rest in a wooded area down a steep hill. Emergency personnel spent much of the day on the difficult task of securing the wreckage and recovering the victims.
The four victims were part of a weekend outing to Florida with six others, flying in another plane, but elected to land safely in Columbus instead.
"It's with much heaviness of heart that I announce God has called four of our loved ones home. Don and Barb Horan and Steve and Denise Butz. They leave behind six children who are grieving and hurting over the loss of their parents," said family friend Brian Wenning at a Monday press conference.
Investigators say Don Horan was an instrument-rated pilot, so he was legally allowed to fly in poor weather. There was fog and misting rain at the time of the crash.
"There was a low ceiling. The weather got worse as we were out here longer," said Greensburg Police Capt. Bill Meyerrose.
The emergency management agency says the plane crashed about a mile from Greensburg Municipal Airport. It says the airport's pilot-controlled runway lights are activated by radio but were not on at the time of the crash Sunday night.
Investigators with the NTSB arrived late Monday. They will be focusing on the pilot, weather conditions and the plane itself. They will look for mistakes or mechanical malfunctions that could have caused the tragedy.
Horan was a former owner of Collection Associates. The parent company, Receivables Management Partners, released the following statement about the deaths Monday:
"The Receivables Management Partners family has lost a close friend as the former owner of Collection Associates (part of the RMP family of companies) and past RMP board member Don Horan, and his wife Barb, were killed in a plane crash last night. The entire RMP family joins the Greensburg community in grieving the loss of both Don and his wife, Barb, as well as the other victims of this tragic accident. Don and Barb leave behind four beautiful daughters whom they loved dearly. While we know Don and Barb are now in a better place, we will continue to lift up their daughters and family in prayer as they go through this difficult time.
"Don and Barb were faithful parents, wonderful friends, and truly a part of our family. They lived a life of service to others and were an example to all of how to share God's love and grace and blessings with others. The only way we know to honor Don and Barb is to allow their passing to motivate us to continue to love our neighbors as ourselves as Jesus teaches us in Mark 12:31. The RMP family is committed to carrying on their example of doing business with integrity and loving each other and serving our fellow man to honor the lives of Don and Barb."