Metro-East News

Plane crash victims identified; federal investigators seek clues to what happened

Plane removed from crash site in Waterloo, investigators search for answers

Investigators and work crews prepare the plane wreckage for transport at the crash site in Waterloo. The plane crashed at the intersection of Floraville and Gilmore Lake roads on March 12, 2018.
Up Next
Investigators and work crews prepare the plane wreckage for transport at the crash site in Waterloo. The plane crashed at the intersection of Floraville and Gilmore Lake roads on March 12, 2018.

Local authorities on Wednesday released the identities of the family members who survived a plane crash near Waterloo a day earlier with only minimal injuries.

The pilot was Michael Stodard, 62, of Fairhope, Alabama. He was flying with his wife, Angel, 61, and their 4-year-old grandson, whose name was not released by authorities.

They were transported to area hospitals Tuesday afternoon with non-life threatening injuries, according to first-responders on scene at the time.

Maj. Jim Lansing, of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, said Wednesday he saw no visible injuries on the 4-year-old.

Michael Stodard, who was airlifted from the scene to a hospital, appeared to have a broken leg and possibly a broken arm, according to Lansing.

Angel Stodard might have had a hip or pelvis injury, Lansing said. She and the 4-year-old were transported to hospitals in ambulances Tuesday.

031319DH plane crash follow.jpg
Workers prepare the wrecked plane for transport Wednesday morning. The family who survived the plane crash near Waterloo are from Alabama and were taken to area hospitals with minimal injuries. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

Investigators began removing the wreckage — described by a witness as “just a pile of metal” — from the intersection of Floraville and Gilmore Lake roads on Wednesday morning.

The plane, a fixed wing single-engine Piper PA-32, had crashed into an off-duty police officer’s yard. Waterloo Police Sgt. Trin Daws and another man ran to the wreckage and broke the plane’s windows to pull out the 4-year-old, who they heard screaming.

Lansing said on Tuesday that Angel Stodard told him a warning light went off inside the plane before the crash and that oil was spewing onto the windshield, blocking their view.

Trin Daws, a veteran Waterloo police officer, describes resuing passengers from a single engine plane that crashed near his home. The passengers, from Alabama, survived.

Waterloo Fire Chief Aaron Shive, whose fire department helped extradite the family, said he has visited with them since the crash. He said they were in fairly good condition.

“Everyone went way from that plane speaking and alive,” he said.

Shive delivered some personal effects to the family, including clothes and the grandson’s teddy bear.

The Federal Aviation Administration, along with the National Transportation Safety Board, are investigating the crash. A preliminary statement from the FAA on Tuesday said the plane was on its way to St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.

An official with the FAA said Wednesday that details of investigations are not released until the investigation is completed. He said that can often take months depending on the crash.

Airplanes of the same make and model as the one that crashed Tuesday have been involved in at least two separate accidents investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. The final reports concluded that those crashes were caused by the pilots’ errors, rather than problems with the plane.

  Comments