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Creve Coeur Lake plane crash

5:14 PM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
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Maryland Heights, MO (KSDK) - The pilot of a single-engine plane that crashed into Creve Coeur Lake Wednesday evening died overnight.

Authorities identified the pilot as 78-year-old Russell Hazelton of Factoryville, Pennsylvania.  Hazelton's wife, 69-year-old Suzanne Hazelton, remains listed in critical condition.

Factoryville is located about 22 miles north of Scranton in northeast Pennsylvania.

The Pattonville Fire Protection District received a phone call at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday for a plane in the water.  When emergency personnel arrived they found the four-person plane upside down in the water and two people trapped inside.

PHOTOS: Plane crashes in Creve Coeur Lake

Crews from St. Charles, Lake St. Louis, Maryland Heights, Monarch, and Robertson also responded to assist in the rescue.

One officer swam out to the plane and attempted to get inside the plane, but to no avail.

Within 10 minutes, rescue crews were able to extricate Russell Hazelton and his wife.  They were taken to SSM DePaul Health Center, a Level II trauma center, where Russell Hazelton was pronounced dead.  No one else was on board.

Witnesses said the engine may have been sputtering when it went down and the pilot may have been trying to land on the water.

Dive teams conducted an underwater search.

The plane was traveling from Pennsylvania to Creve Coeur Airport, which is approximately two miles west of Creve Coeur Lake.  The plane stopped in Dayton, Ohio to refuel.

The plane, a 1973 Piper Cherokee with a fixed-wing and single engine, was tied overnight to a Maryland Heights police vehicle to keep it from drifting into the lake.

Authorities said the Hazeltons had a residence in Town & Country.

The St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department said Thursday that Creve Coeur County Park would stay open to the public.

The National Transportation Safety Board was on the scene Thursday and held a news conference where they said they will be continuing to investigate the cause of the accident.

In five days the NTSB will release a preliminary report. There will be few details in this release.

In five to eight months they will release a secondary report which will be slightly more detailed.

The full report including the cause of the accident is expected to take more than one year.

KSDK

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