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Ohio plane crash kills 6

  • Story Highlights
  • Small plane crashes into residential area minutes after take-off in northern Ohio
  • Plane's pilot was former state lawmaker Gene Damschroder, 86
  • Witness reported that engine "sputtered," but cause of crash still being investigated
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By Samira J. Simone
CNN
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(CNN) -- Six people died when a small plane piloted by a former state lawmaker crashed in northern Ohio Sunday, a state police spokesman said.

No other injuries, deaths or damage to homes were reported, said Sgt. Matt Crow of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which is investigating the scene.

Crow said the single-engine Cessna crashed into a residential area west of Fremont, Ohio, just minutes after it took off from the town's regional airport at about 1 p.m..

The pilot, Gene Damschroder, 86, was a retired World War II pilot who served in the state Legislature from 1973 to 1983. He also owned the single-runway airport in Fremont, a city of 25,000 about 45 miles southeast of Toledo, Ohio.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, though the pilot's son, Rex Damschroder, told CNN that one eyewitness reported that the 1968 Cessna engine had "sputtered." Video Watch investigators examine wreckage »

The other victims were Bill Ansted, 62, of Lindsay; Allison Ansted, 23, of Lindsay, Ohio; Danielle Gerwin, 31, of Gibsonburg, Ohio; Emily Gerwin, 4, of Gibsonburg; and Matt Clearman, 25, of Maumee, Ohio.

Rex Damschroder, also a pilot and former legislator who filled his father's seat for eight years, said his father had worked as a professional charter pilot and flight instructor, accumulating thousands of flight hours.

"I'm a professional pilot, and I never questioned his flying," he said. "I might not ride in a car with him, but flying a plane, it was second nature to him."

He said Sunday's flight was part of a Lions Club pancake fundraiser, in which participants could catch a quick aerial tour of the city. Damschroder said he knew the passengers aboard the plane.

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"Our thoughts are with those families. It's not going to be easy for any of them," he said.

Gene Damschroder is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, three daughters, another son and several grandchildren.

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