PHILLIPS, Wis. — Authorities say a small airplane crash that killed six people in northern Wisconsin fell apart in the air.
National Transportation Safety Board Eric Weiss said Monday the debris from the plane crash suggests there was an “in-flight breakup.”
NTSB investigators say there was a discussion between the pilot of the plane and air traffic controllers about “local weather phenomenon” shortly before the crash at 3:21 a.m. Saturday. Weiss says investigators are trying to determine if weather caused the crash.
The Cessna 421 left from Waukegan, Illinois, and was flying to Winnipeg in the Canadian province of Manitoba for a fishing trip.
The Price County Sheriff’s Office on Monday identified the victims as Kevin James King, 70; Thomas DeMauro, 56; Kyle DeMauro, 21; James Francis, 63; Charles Tomlitz, 69; and George Tomlitz, 45.
The DeMauros and King are from Bensenville, Illinois. Francis is from Norco, California. Charles Tomlitz is from Addison, Illinois and George Tomlitz is from Brookfield, Illinois.
Authorities did not say how they knew each other or their relation.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, citing a Facebook post on the site of Tioga Elementary School in Bensenville, Illinois, said Thomas DeMauro was a physical education teacher ithere and Charles Tomlitz was a maintenance director for the district.
“Mr. DeMauro and Mr. Tomlitz will be missed by all the Tioga Community,” the school’s co-principals wrote in the post.
In a statement to WSAW-TV, the DeMauro family said they “would like to express our gratitude for the outpouring of support after the traffic loss of Tom and Kyle.”
“We would also like to express our heartfelt condolences to the other families affected by this tragedy. Tom was our beloved son, husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, teacher and coach,” the statement said. “Kyle was our dear son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend; a compassionate young man who had a promising future.”