MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KPLR) – Federal investigators spent the afternoon examining plane crash wreckage at Creve Coeur Lake. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board have taken the lead in the investigation. The pilot was killed and at last report his wife was in very critical condition and on life support. The pilot had a lot of flying experience, he had once flown for TWA.
Authorities said the pilot was in contact with the control tower but did not issue a call for help or report any problems. Major Bill Carson with the Maryland Heights Police revealed what a witness told police last night around 8:40p.m. Carson said, "The engine was sputtering those were her words. The plane banked appeared to be attempting to make an emergency landing on the beach as the plane came in it touched down on the water and flipped over upside down and slowly began sinking."
The pilot, 78 year old Russell Hazelton and his 69 year old wife Suzanne were strapped in their seats trapped. They would be under water for several minutes. A half dozen police officers and several firefighters moved the plane closer to shore so they could raise it up out of the water and get the jammed cockpit door open and free the couple. Dolph Jeck is with the Pattonville Fire Protection District, "It was just a combined herculean effort for everybody."
CPR was begun and when ambulances rushed the couple from the crash site they were both alive but Russell Hazelton died later. The couple`s son showed up on the scene, he declined to comment.
The couple has a home in Town and Country and near Scranton Pennsylvania. They were flying from Pennsylvania to Creve Coeur Airport last night when the plane crashed not far from the airport.
The Hazelton`s next door neighbors, a church pastor and his wife were stunned by the news. Bishop James Johnson and Juana Johnson called the couple very welcoming. Juana Johnson said, "They`re the kind of neighbors you think of If you think of what is a good neighbor." Bishop Johnson added, "Interestingly we being black and they being white after we moved into the neighborhood, they invited us over to their home for dinner."
It could be eight months to a year before the NTSB has an official cause.