Pilot of plane that crashed into home dies from injuries - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Pilot of plane that crashed into home dies from injuries

Updated:
COLUMBUS, INDIANA -

Eighty-one year old Gerald Clayton, the pilot who was badly burned when his plane crashed into a home on Thursday, July 25, died overnight Friday at Wishard Hospital. This news comes as investigators try to determine what caused the crash.

Many of Clayton's friends and those who live in the neighborhood where it all happened just found out today.  They are shocked by the news.

More than a week later, the aftermath is just as devastating.

One neighbor said, "Everytime for us being next door neighbors, everytime we look out it's like what really happened? it's a bit shocking for all of us." 

A columbus home was wrecked by a small plane that crashed here a week ago Thursday afternoon. The woman inside the home escaped. So did the two men aboard the plane. Everyone impacted thankful at least, all survived.

But the mood changed Saturday when--nine days after the disaster--neighbors and friends learned the pilot--badly burned in the crash--succumbed to his injuries. "Until today it was like ok he was surviving and of course we were hoping and all this time it was OK.  Today it's been difficult for all of us."

Another neighbor said, "He's just a well likeable guy. A funny guy."

Officials say 81-year old Gerald Clayton built the plane that crashed.

A long-time pilot, he loved to fly--remembers his friend of more than 30 years. Bob Breeden. 

"Gerald was a good mechanic and he knew what he was doing when he was working on his plane. He knew what he was doing so I don't know what happened." He said.

Clayton served in the Air Force, and more recently volunteered at the Atterbury Aviation Museum in Columbus.

To those who knew him, he was a good friend.

 "He's going to be really missed here. You don't find friends like that everyday."

Questions still remain about the cause of the crash.

For now, thoughts are with the families. And neighbors, once relieved--now grieve. A constant reminder of the loss-- right next door.

Bob Breeden said Gerald Clayton was having problems with the plane-- and had put a new part on it he thought would fix the problem.

The NTSB is still investigating the crash-- and could have a conclusion later this week.

The passenger of the plane remains at Wishard--strong enough to talk to investigators.

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