Four people died Monday night when a rented, single-engine Cessna crashed and burned soon after taking off from Cuyahoga County Regional Airport near Cleveland, Ohio. All four, including the pilot, were students at Case Western Reserve University, and the three passengers were on the varsity wrestling team.
The wrestlers were identified as 20-year-old Lucas Marcelli of Massillon, Ohio; 18-year-old Abraham Pishevar of Rockville, Maryland; and 18-year-old John Hill of St. Simons, Georgia. The fourth student was the pilot, 20-year-old William Felten of Saginaw, Michigan.
Marcelli and Felten were sophomores and Pishevar and Hill were freshman.
The plane appeared to be trying to return to the airport when it crashed, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. He said investigators expect to file a preliminary report next week, but the full investigation could take a year to complete.
Lucas Marcelli's father Bryan said the four only planned on taking a quick sightseeing trip around Cleveland. Felton rented the plane for four hours and did not file a flight plan.
Witnesses reported hearing the plane's engine struggle and seeing a "ball of light." Some neighbors rushed to the site of the crash and found the plane engulfed in flames with the four passengers trapped inside. They said it then exploded as they got closer.
As of now, investigators don't know what could have caused the crash so soon after take off. Peter Knudson of the National Transportation Safety Bureau said a preliminary report should be filed next week, but the full investigation could take up to a year.