Nine dead after plane crash in Akron


Area police and firefighters work at the scene after a passenger jet crashed into a home on Mogadore Rd. while on a short approach to Akron-Fulton Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Akron, Ohio. An undetermined amount of people died in the accident.

A private charter plane crashed into an apartment building on Mogadore Road in Akron Tuesday afternoon, killing all nine people aboard.

The twin-jet charter plane left Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport and planned to land at Akron-Fulton International Airport. The plane carried seven employees from Pebb Enterprises, a real estate company in Boca Raton, Fla., along with the pilot and co-pilot.

State Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Haymaker of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the crash occurred at 2:53 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service, the visibility at the time of the crash was 1.5 miles, the lowest visibility on Tuesday.

The plane’s two engines have been sent to the manufacturer, Honeywell, to be checked for defects.

Live: Akron Plane Crash from on Vimeo.

Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and Jim Silliman, investigator in charge for the accident, would not release any details on potential causes but said the NTSB is looking into several factors, including flight controls, engines, records, weather, air traffic control and operations.

The plane left Ft. Lauderdale around 6:30 a.m. on Monday for a flight to Minneapolis, Minn. Then, the plane flew to Moline, Ill., before heading to St. Louis, Mo. The plane arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, at 7:40 p.m.

All passengers and pilots stayed overnight in Cincinnati before leaving at 10 a.m. for Dayton. The plane departed Dayton late Tuesday afternoon for Akron-Fulton airport before crashing just before 3 p.m. in Akron.

The left wing hit the ground first and left a witness mark, Dinh-Zarr said. The aircraft then hit half of an apartment building, destroying it before running up an embankment behind the building, coming to rest.

The plane crashed into the 3000-block apartments on Mogadore Road and destroyed one four-family apartment complex while damaging the buildings on the right and left of the crash site, also four-family apartment buildings. Haymaker said 12 families have been affected by the crash. No one was injured on the ground.

“Eleven of those families have reached out to the Red Cross,” Haymaker said. “The Red Cross is helping assist with those families, whether it’s food, clothing and giving them the opportunity to put them up somewhere else here locally until they can get back into their homes.”

Sierjie Lash, the public information officer for the Akron Fire Department, said the building struck by the plane was destroyed and nearby buildings sustained only minor damage.

“There were some folks in the homes nearby, but we did have to get them out and make sure they were safe,” Lash said. “The home where the plane made contact with is a total loss. They will allow them after the scene is stabilized to return to the home if anything is salvageable, but that is going to take a couple of days.”

Christian Bobrowicz, who works for Professional Grinding Inc., a machine shop on Mogadore Road, said he and his co-workers heard a plane approaching, which he said happens often, so they didn’t think anything of it at first.

“It kept getting louder and louder, and we thought, ‘OK, that doesn’t seem normal,’” he said. “A substantial bang shook the building pretty hard…We ran out of the front of the building and started heading up the street…It was nothing but a ball of flame, and we thought we could help somebody, but it was pretty obvious that whatever had happened here was pretty final.”

Bobrowicz said they approached the crash site, where flames engulfed the apartment building.

“We got up as far as we could and took a look around, and that fire was pouring out of there,” he said. “You could hear things in the building starting to pop off. Things were boiling and smashing, and when the firefighters were out there, things just kept exploding behind them — not large explosions, but like car batteries were popping and things of that nature. It was a pretty surreal experience.”

Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler, her team of forensic pathologist and 22 anthropologists from Mercyhurst University are working to recover the remains of the victims. Haymaker said the identities of the victims will need to be confirmed and next of kin notified before their identities are released to the public.

Pebb Enterprises’ website features a short message about the crash:

“Our hearts are broken this morning with the news of the tragic accident that took the lives of two principals and five employees of Pebb Enterprises. We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished. Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers. We ask for the media’s understanding and cooperation at this time of unimaginable loss and mourning and are not responding to media requests at this time.”

Kohler and the Ohio State Highway Patrol will receive help from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Association as these two groups continue the investigation of the crash site. Kohler said the goal is a “systematic and organized removal of the victims from the crash.”

Dinh-Zarr said the remainder of the aircraft recovery will begin Thursday and the NTSB investigators will be on scene for the next four to five days. The cockpit voice recorder has already been recovered and sent to a lab in Washington D.C.

The investigators will begin the recovery of the airplane, which includes sending the engines to Honeywell for examination and checking the cable continuity of the flight controls. The team will also gather information about the crew including experience and training.

The plane, a Hawker 125-700A, is owned by Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-based ExecuFlight.

“On behalf of the entire NTSB, I’d like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this tragic accident,” Dinh-Zarr said. “Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time. We’d also like to extend our thanks to the local authorities and first responders for all of the assistance that they’ve provided the community and to us.”

The NTSB reports a pilot successfully landed a plane right before the plane crashed in Akron. Akron-Fulton International Airport does not have a control tower, so all pilots on approach are controlled by Akron-Canton Airport.

“There were no communications to the tower,” Silliman said. “The pilot that landed the previous aircraft was on the same frequency and they stated they did not hear any distress calls.”

Security footage captured by a nearby business shows the plane flying at a low altitude and banking to the left. Investigators will look at the charter aircraft’s maintenance records, any modifications that were made to how many passengers it could hold and when it was built.

Stay with for updates. 

Allie Johnson and Tyler Singleton are city reporters for The Kent Stater. Contact Allie Johnson at [email protected]. Contact Tyler Singleton at [email protected].