Washburn, IN - Two Warsaw residents are dead after a small plane crash in Grainger County, Tennessee. According to WVLT-TV in Knoxville, the plane was registered in Syracuse, IN, and took off from Warsaw Municipal Airport.
Sixty-four-year-old Lowell Owens and 51-year-old Susan Owens died on Saturday after the single-engine plane crashed in Washburn, Tenn., about 35 miles north of Knoxville.
Family members say Lowell Owens always wanted to fly.
"He loved to fly, that was like his lifelong dream," said Julie Pogue, daughter of Lowell Owens.
Two years ago, Owens became a pilot.
"He'd take us over our house and show the kids where we lived and the different lakes," said Pogue.
Lowell would fly with his children, his grandchildren, and with his wife Susan.
"They sucked the marrow out of life, both of them just lived life to its fullest," said Pogue.
Family say the couple loved to travel; the two had flown to Tennessee for a romantic weekend in Gatlinburg.
"What we think happened -- we don't completely know at this point -- is that he got into some fog and apparently clipped a mountaintop," said Lowell Owens' son David Owens.
Grainger County Sheriff James Harville believes the plane clipped the northern side of the mountain.
The FAA says it's too early to determine what caused this crash. It says the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what went wrong.
"Lowell was a good pilot and it was a shock to hear this," said Jonathan Fussle, a flight instructor in Warsaw who helped teach Owens to fly. "There are some people that if I heard the news that this happened to them, I wouldn't be surprised. But this is really a surprise or a shock."
The family say Lowell and Susan Owens had huge hearts and were very giving. The loss, they say, is shocking.
"I don't think we have processed it yet," said Julie Pogue. "We're -- the whole family -- is still in shock."
Lowell and Susan Owens are survived by three children, 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Authorities say it will take anywhere from six to nine months to determine an official cause of the plane crash.
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
FAA spokesperson Kathleen Bergen says the plane was a 1974 Piper PA-28. It's a fixed-wing, single-engine plane.
Bergen says the plane crashed in a "mountainous and remote area" of Washburn, about 35 miles northwest of Knoxville. She says the pilot did not file a flight plan, but that most private pilots don't in clear weather.
- Thanks to WNDU-TV