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Investigation of fatal plane crash hinges on FAA, NTSB

April 23, 2012

Investigators continued Sunday to pore over the site and gather evidence from Saturday’s airplane crash that claimed the life of Dr. Emil P. Bisaccia, 59, of Basking Ridge, N.J.

Trooper Chad Durben of the Ohio Highway Patrol post in New Philadelphia said Sunday night that his investigation is finished until investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board complete their investigations.

Representatives of both federal agencies were at the scene Sunday. It is off Indian Road, about 0.2 mile south of Stocker Ridge Road in Oxford Township.

Meanwhile, Indian Road residents Elizabeth Menefee, 23, and Brent Dodd, 39, told The Times-Reporter Sunday that they heard the airplane’s engine running at what sounded like full throttle just before it crashed into the nearby wooded area.

Menefee said they then heard the crash, and saw smoke from several minor fires as pieces of the airplane burned. “There was metal everywhere, books everywhere, and little fires burning,” she said.

Dodd estimated the crash site was about 500 yards from their house. Menefee said the crash sounded like a loud explosion, “like a gasoline can going off.”

Menefee immediately called 911, and reported the crash at 12:23 p.m.

She and Dodd then went to the scene, just over a hill from their residence, to search for survivors. They found none.

Durben said the airplane, a 2009 Cirrus SR-22, was owned by Photopheresis Of Nj Inc. of Morristown, N.J., and that Bisaccia was its only occupant.

FAA Public Affairs Officer Tony Molinaro said Sunday that the FAA is seeking additional witnesses who might have heard or seen the airplane before it crashed. He said investigators also would be looking at maintenance records of the aircraft and pilot records.

“(There are) various other factors we’ll be looking at, and we gather all of that information,” said Molinaro. “With an accident like this, we then hand it over to the NTSB.”

Peter Knudson, a NTSB public affairs officer, said the last communication received was about five minutes before the plane disappeared off the radar, but it was not a distress call. He said the plane made a 180 degree turn at about 8,000 feet before it went off the radar.

Durben said the plane, which was enroute from New Jersey to the Ohio State University airport near Columbus, was headed almost eastbound when the crash occurred.

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