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Son texts group selfie to his mother moments before fatal plane crash in Illinois

Four members of the same fraternity were killed when the small engine plane they were riding in crashed Sunday near Carlinville, Illinois

MACOUPIN COUNTY, Ill. — Daniel Shedd texted a selfie of him and his three fraternity brothers to his mother as they took off in a small engine plane from Creve Coeur airport Sunday moments before they were all killed in a crash.

Nothing in the photo appeared amiss inside the four-seater plane, a Piper Cherokee PA 28-235 fixed wing, single-engine aircraft. Charles Shedd of Chesterfield said his son’s friend, Joshua Sweers, 35, of Michigan was the pilot. He didn’t have the plane for long, but that it was in “excellent condition” after having passed all of the necessary inspections.

Charles Shedd drove the men to the airport and waved good-bye to them before trying to track their flight on his iPhone.

They took off at 3:19 p.m. and crashed at 3:46 p.m. just south of Carlinville, Illinois. The Macoupin County Coroner pronounced all of them dead at the scene at 4:27 p.m. Daniel Schlosser, 39, of Michigan and John Camilleri, 39, of New York were also killed.

All four were graduates of Kettering University's School of Engineering in Michigan and were members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Shedd worked as a quality engineer for the Department of Defense on site at Boeing.

“This was his first time flying with them and I’m not sure if he had ever been in a small plane before,” his father said. “He was looking forward to the trip.”

Sweers, Camilleri and Schlosser flew to the St. Louis area to spend the weekend at Daniel Shedd’s house in St. Charles. Schlosser owns a construction business and was planning to help Daniel Shedd with some home remodeling he was doing. The men were planning to fly back to Michigan Sunday, where Daniel Shedd was going to pick up a BMW cruiser motorcycle he had loaned to Sweers and drive it back to St. Charles on Monday – his mother’s birthday, his father said.

“He and I rode together quite a bit,” Charles Shedd said. “The one that he was going up to Michigan to get was mine.

“I rode it to Arizona to sell to him when I was buying another one out there.”

Daniel Shedd tracked his friends’ flight to the St. Louis area using an app on his phone, so his father planned to do the same when his son was in the air on Sunday.

But he couldn’t get it to work.

Then, his texts telling his son that he couldn’t get it to work went unanswered.

When Charles Shedd figured their flight should have ended, he tried calling his son.

He didn’t answer.

He remembered the tail number on the plane, and said he was surprised by how much information he found about his son’s flight on a website. It updated about every 15 seconds.

“According to this site, that tail number took off from Creve Coeur and basically went away a half hour later,” he said. “I thought, ‘There’s something wrong. I don’t know why it stopped giving updated information.”

Just then, he said a notification from 5 On Your Side's website flashed on his wife’s phone saying there had been a crash.

RELATED: 4 killed in Macoupin County plane crash Sunday afternoon identified

“At the same time I was telling her, ‘I think they crashed,’ she was telling me, ‘I wasn’t going to tell you about the crash,’” he recalled through tears. “I called Carlinville police and got to the sheriff and ultimately talked with the coroner … He was the most wonderful son a parent could possibly have.”

Shedd is survived by his parents and sister, Natalie Karnowski of Boise, Idaho.

The Macoupin County Sheriff's Department and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

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