Pilot searching for downed plane also crashes

1 dead in Allegany County

two couples from Georgia were friends

June 27, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Two mysterious plane crashes yesterday -- one aircraft went down while searching for another downed plane near Cumberland in Allegany County -- resulted in the death of a Georgia woman and serious injuries to her husband and another couple, state police said.

The crashes occurred about 12: 45 p.m. shortly after the two Piper J-3 aircraft, described as old military observation planes, took off in a southerly direction from Armstrong Airfield, a private landing strip in the Danville area, said Trooper James Layton of the Cumberland barracks.

The people in the two planes were friends, Layton said.

They took off from Lock Haven, Pa., earlier in the day and were headed to Clemson, S.C.

"One plane lost power and went down for what reason we don't know yet," Layton said. "The second plane circled around to find the first plane and also crashed for whatever reason."

Layton said the planes crashed about a half-mile apart in a forest.

Victoria B. Lyons, 49, of Kennesaw, Ga., was killed in the crash, state police said.

Her husband, Samuel Lyons Jr., 54, was listed in critical condition at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with severe burns over 75 percent of his body, Layton said. He was the pilot.

The pilot of the other plane, Thomas Lee, 50, of Atlanta, was in critical condition at Cumberland Memorial Hospital with broken ribs and other injuries.

His fiancee, Anita Winje, 44, also of Atlanta, suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs and was also in critical condition at Cumberland Memorial.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the accidents.

Pub Date: 6/27/99

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