No plane problems evident in Greensburg crash that killed 4

NTSB: Investigation could take 9 months

GREENSBURG, Ind. - It could be up a year before a complete report on what caused a plane crash in Decatur County that killed four people is released.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday that the wreckage of the Piper 46 that went down about two miles south of the Greensburg airport Sunday has been moved to a covered area so investigators can examine it closely.

NTSB investigator Stuart Bothwell said crews determined that the plane had enough fuel, the landing gear was down, and that the plane appeared to have been working properly at the time of the crash.

"We have not been able to identify anything wrong with the aircraft at this time," said NTSB Deputy Regional Director Dan Baker.

Baker said the wreckage will be moved to Washington, D.C., for additional investigation that is expected to take six to nine months.

"What we've been able to do so far is go through the aircraft wreckage of the airplane. We're still gathering information on the air traffic control and the weather," Baker said.

It will likely be another one to three months after the investigation is complete that a cause will be released.
Donald Horan, 46, and his wife, Barbara Horan, 45, along with Steve Butz, 45, and his wife, Denise Butz, 42, were killed in the crash. All four lived in the Greensburg area.

A spokesman for the Horan family said the couples left behind six children.

The plane was registered to Donald Horan, and he was piloting the plane that he had owned since October.

Horan had flown a total of nearly 400 hours, including 52 hours in the plane that crashed. He'd also logged 29 hours in instrument-only weather conditions.

It was foggy and misty in the area at the time of the crash. The pilot-activated runway lights were working, but officials aren't sure if Horan tried to turn them on.

A plane carrying friends tried to land just 20 minutes before the crash, but couldn't because of the fog.

"The indication I got from the pilot who flew previously to the accident stated that he had no visibility. He never broke out of the clouds. (The pilot) never had any sight of the runway, and did a missed approach," Bothwell said.

After missing that landing attempt, the pilot of the other plane diverted to Columbus. Although both aircraft had radios, there was no indication that the first pilot tried to communicate with the second plane.

Visitation is set for Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Mary's School, and the funeral is Friday at Greensburg High School.

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