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80 Years Ago

Archives 08-24-2005


Two Ohio men found dead Friday after plane crash
Indiana woman dies from lightning strike
East 52 Fire Dept. receives federal grant



Two Ohio men found dead Friday after plane crash

Dale Welch/Hilltop Express
Fentress County Investigator Gary Ledbetter and Daniel Coleman, of Mountain Fire & Rescue, head out from Tayes' Grocery in Cravenstown to the crash site of an airplane located on rough ridges several miles into the woods.

By Dale Welch,
Hilltop Express with permission

An airplane flight that originated in Gadsden, AL, heading to Somerset, KY, ended abruptly in a thunderstorm along the steep, rough wooded ridges near Cravenstown on Wednesday night, Aug. 17. Two people were reported onboard the small twin-engine plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported to Overton and Fentress emergency officials that the plane dropped off the radar screen just after they had radioed air traffic controllers in Indiana around 7 p.m. that the plane was in distress and would try to divert northwest of Jamestown.

Several area residents heard the explosion and reported it.

"It wasn't the thunderstorm I heard," Judy Boles, of Cravenstown, said. "All at once we heard a loud boom, boom, boom. Then, the explosion lit up the whole sky."

Search and rescue teams were called in from all over the area to help search for the downed plane and any survivors. They came from as close as the Mountain Fire & Rescue and Muddy Pond Fire, to as far away as Roane County. They set up a staging point at Randall Tayes' Grocery in Cravenstown.

An AirEvac helicopter was called in to search the area with heat-sensing equipment in the early morning hours of Thursday, Aug. 18.

The fog left over from the thunderstorm prevented them from finding anything. Returning after daylight, and after the fog had lifted, the helicopter found the wreckage site deep in the ridges, just over in Fentress County, and miles away from any easy roads.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter also joined in the search as the AirEvac helicopter headed back for fueling. Because of the rough terrain and some wrong coordinates, rescuers from the ground did not reach the site on Thursday. They were also hampered by spotted heavy evening rain.

Authorities did make it to the site on Friday and discovered the bodies of pilot Charles Henry Christian and passenger Hugo Klopper. Both were residents of Shaker Heights, OH.

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Man injured in motorcycle wreck

Dale Welch/Hilltop Express
Jeffrey Scott Collins, 40, of Franklin, was injured when he lost control of a Yamaha 2005 R6 motorcyle near Crawford last Saturday. Mountain Fire & Rescue, along with Mountain First Responders, set up a landing zone for an AirEvac helicopter ambulance to land at Crawford Community Center to transport the victim to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

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East 52 Fire Dept. receives federal grant

East 52 Volunteer Fire Department will use a $172,330 Department of Homeland Security grant to purchase a new fire truck, according to U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

Homeland Security awarded the grant through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, created by Congress to help underfunded fire departments better serve community residents.

"Many communities struggle to maintain fire-protection services," said Gordon, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. "Even though demands on firefighters have increased tremendously over the years, the resources they depend on to provide their life-saving services have not.

"That's why Congress initiated the Assistance to Firefighters Program, which is similar to the highly successful COPS program that put more than 100,000 new police officers on the nation's streets."

East 52 Coordinator Art Kane said the new fire truck will aid the 20-member department in serving communities in Overton and Clay counties.

Fire departments across the nation will receive about $650 million through the grant program this year. In addition to purchasing firefighting vehicles, the grants also can fund operations and firefighter safety programs.

"Countless lives and properties have been saved through the valiant efforts of firefighters and rescue squad members," Gordon said. "This new program is an unprecedented opportunity for local fire departments to strengthen their resources and capabilities."

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