5 People Die on Their Way to Environmental Disaster

5 People Die on Their Way to Environmental Disaster

(UnitedVoice.com) – Five environmental experts have been killed in an airplane crash as they headed for the Ohio metals plant that exploded on Monday, February 20. The group were on a light aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff from Little Rock, Arkansas. So far, it looks like bad weather was responsible.

On February 20, there was an explosion at a copper alloy manufacturing plant in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Oakwood Village, which killed one worker and injured over a dozen others. Two days later, five employees of the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), a Little Rock company that specializes in response to environmental disasters, took off from the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport just outside the city. Unfortunately, seconds after takeoff, the twin-engine Beechcraft crashed less than a mile from the airport. All five people on board were killed. Eyewitnesses say there was a loud explosion and fire when the plane hit the ground, followed by a plume of black smoke.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating the crash. It’s likely to be several days before they have any conclusions, but NTSB investigator Alex Lemishko told journalists that video from an airport surveillance camera shows bad weather moving in just as the plane took off. Around the time of the crash, weather sensors nearby measured a 46 mph gust — enough to make a light aircraft lose control.

CTEH provides “a wide range of response services” for environmental accidents, and it’s likely its staff were heading for Ohio to check for contamination in the area around the I. Schumann & Co metal plant. The plane’s flight plan showed it heading for Columbus’ John Glenn International Airport. The company named the pilot as Sean Sweeney and the passengers as Kyle Bennett, Gunter Beaty, Micah Kendrick, and Glenmarkus Walker. CTEH senior Vice President Dr. Paul Nony said the company was “incredibly saddened” by the loss of its colleagues.

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