Surgeon and three teenagers killed in Faribault plane crash
Faribault, Minn. — (AP) - Authorities have identified all four victims killed in this weekend's Faribault plane crash.
Dr. Chester W.P. Mayo, an orthopedic surgeon, was a descendent of the brothers who founded the Mayo Clinic. Mayo, who was piloting the Cirrus SR22, was bringing his eldest son back to boarding school in Faribault following the Thanksgiving holiday break.
His son, Chester Mayo Jr., 17, also died in the crash, along with Corey Lyn Creger, 18, and Jay Wang, 17. Creger, a Faribault native, was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Wang was Chester Mayo Jr.'s roomate at Shattuck-St. Mary's school.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane had left from Aberdeen, S.D., where Mayo worked at Orthopedic Surgery Specialists.
"There will be a lot of patients in that South Dakota area that will miss (him)," said his brother, Dr. Joseph Mayo, in a telephone interview Monday. "It's going to be a big loss."
Joseph Mayo, who is an orthopedic surgeon in Placentia, Calif., said he and Chester both learned to fly airplanes before they were old enough to drive cars.
"He's an incredibly careful, well-trained pilot. He had his instrument rating," Joseph Mayo said. "It wasn't all that exciting flying with him, because he was always worried and concerned and double checking and all that."
Because of that, the crash came as even more of a shock, he said.
On Monday, friends and acquaintances of the three teenagers posted several tributes on Facebook.
Brian Pfenning, a friend and former classmate of Wang, told the Star Tribune that Chester Jr. and Wang were returning to school after the Thanksgiving break. Wang "was just a great guy," Pfenning said. "It's a loss of two great kids."
Federal investigators are trying to determine why the plane crashed. It was making its second attempt to land, when it inverted and crashed at the Faribault Municipal Airport on Sunday.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said the Cirrus SR22 plane left Aberdeen, S.D., earlier in the day bound for Faribault, a town of about 21,000 about 50 miles south of Minneapolis.
The four-seat plane burst into flames and scattered debris across the airfield when it crashed just off the runway around 3 p.m. Sunday.
Cory said FAA investigators arrived on the scene late Sunday. The National Transportation Safety Board's own investigator arrived Monday morning, said a spokeswoman for that agency.
"There's very little left," Faribault Police Chief Dan Collins said on Sunday. Wind was gusting above 20 mph when the plane went down, but the cause of the crash hadn't been determined, he said.
A team from Duluth-based Cirrus Design will join the NTSB to investigate the crash, according to the company's Vice President Bill King.
"They clearly will be all over this, trying to figure out exactly what happened inside that airplane before the accident. We support that by having a team of our own people down there to support them," says King. "So we will become party to the investigation, and our investigators will be there right along with the NTSB helping them trying to figure out what happened."
King says the company's employees extend their sympathies to the families of the victims.
King says there about 2,700 SR22s in the market. Since 2002, the SR22 has been involved in 17 accidents resulting in 35 deaths, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
- All Things Considered, 11/26/2007, 5:23 p.m.