PORT CLINTON, Ohio- Local and federal investigators remained on the scene of a fatal plane crash in Ottawa County well into the evening hours Monday night.
The Piper Apache crashed near S.R. 163 near S.R. 53 in Port Clinton around 3 p.m., landing less than 100 yards from multiple homes, businesses and traffic.
Sylvia Hudec was working across the street at Frank Sales Television & Appliance store. “There were ambulances and everything,” said Sylvia. “It scared me right out of my living wits.”
Investigators said the small twin-engine aircraft was departing from Erie-Ottawa International Airport, off runway 36 when it experienced some unexplained trouble.
FAA investigators were quickly on-scene along with local firefighters, Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies and troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Investigators confirmed the pilot, Richard Schimizze, 60, of Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, was flying alone and the only person killed in the crash.
Surveillance cameras on a nearby department store captured what happened before the plane crash.
“You see it gaining altitude and it just essentially falls from the sky,” said Lt. Brett Gockstetter, OSP.
The airport handles a lot of air traffic and is the largest between Cleveland and Toledo, servicing both business jets and private planes.
Both neighbors and first responders said that their thoughts were with the pilot’s family, but they also agreed that things could’ve been much worse if the plane had crashed into any of the stores, or the numerous homes or countless cars traveling nearby.
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