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Local Couple On Way to See Son’s Race When Plane Crashed

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WEST VIRGINIA -- A couple from Millersburg were killed in last night's plane crash in West Virginia, officials have announced.

According to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, pilot Lazarus Enoch Sommers, 50, and his wife, Maryann Sommers, 56, were killed when the plane went down around 5 p.m.

The plane took off from Akron Fulton International Airport earlier Friday. The plane was headed to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Officials said they were on their way to watch their son race in an off-road racing series event being held there this weekend.

Officials said the plane was a Piper 32.

Firefighters on the ground and crews in a helicopter located the crash site at 6:40 p.m. in Kanawha County. The rescue area was not accessible for vehicles or ATVs, so rescue crews had to walk to the wreckage.

Lazarus had reportedly been attempting to navigate around bad weather, before suddenly dropping off radar.

Officials said Lazarus is the owner of GT Thunder, Inc., in Millersburg. It's a company that sells and services parts for ATVs and motorcycles.

Tim Cotter with Ansoil Grand National Cross Country Series Racing tells our affiliate, WHNS-TV in South Carolina, that the couple was on their way to watch their son race this weekend. Cotter said the two have been sponsors of AGNCC racing for over 30 years and flew to every race.

NTSB officials said they were still in the recovery phase of the investigation, and it could take several more days until a preliminary report is released. It could take up to a year before investigators know exactly what caused the plane to crash.

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