ARCANUM — The Darke County Sheriff’s Office released the names of two men who died in a small plane crash on Wednesday.
Clayton Heins, 20, of Arcanum was the pilot of the yellow Piper Cub single engine aircraft and the passenger was Jacob Turner, 19, of Greenville.
“They were both friends, they were both acquainted and had known to each other for quite some time, as we understand it,” said Darke County Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker. “Clayton Heins was operating an aircraft that belonged to his father and, as we understand it, took off from their private aircraft airstrip on Dull Road yesterday morning, approximate time 8 o’ clock.”
Whittaker said witnesses reported seeing the plane, which was manufactured in 1947, flying in the Arcanum area Wednesday morning. At approximately 1:40 p.m., a resident reported to a Darke County Deputy the plane and its occupants were missing.
“We don’t have an exact time the plane went down,” said Whittaker.
About the same time a family member was flying a private aircraft over the area conducting their own search for the missing aircraft and its occupants. The family member spotted the downed aircraft in the cornfield from the air and called 911 to report the discovery.
Arcanum Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and found the two men deceased in the aircraft, which crashed approximately 150 yards east of a railroad bed and north of Dull Road.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were notified and NTSB investigators removed the plane from the crash site after 2 p.m. on Thursday.
National Transportation Safety Board central region representative Mark Folkerts said, they have a lot of areas to look into and wouldn’t speculate as to what caused the plane to crash however, it was “a high speed impact.”
“We look primarily at three different areas; the man, the machine and the environment,” he said. “So we’re going to look at anything that may have affected the pilot’s ability to fly the aircraft, any kind of medical history, those type of issues, his certification, his training that he had, we’ll look at all types of pilot issues, we also look at anything with the aircraft, we’ll test the aircraft for any type of malfunctions as well as it’s maintenance history and we’ll look at the environment to see what kind of weather was going on that morning. It looks like it was a pretty nice morning to fly, but we’ll take a closer look at that.”
Folkerts said Heins had a student pilot certificate at the time of the accident and as a student pilot, you have to have your pilot’s license to fly a passenger.
“It would be against the regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration to fly with a passenger,” he said.
Folkerts added that the NTSB will continue to conduct examinations on the aircraft, which has been taken to a salvage facility.
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