GREENSBURG, Ind. (WISH) - Officials on Monday afternoon identified the four people killed in a Decatur County plane crash Sunday night. The crash killed Don Horan,46; his wife Barbara Horan, 44; and their friends Stephen Butz, 45; and his wife Denise Butz, 42.
The group was on their way home from a trip to Florida.
Officials said runway lights did not come on as the plane approached. The lights are pilot activated. "It appears there was some impact in the field. The plane came to rest in a wooded area," said Bill Meyerrose of the Greensburg Police Department.
A spokesman for the Horan family thanked the community for its prayers. Brian Weening, a family friend, said the two couples in the crash left behind six children. "It is with much heaviness of heart that God has called four of our loved ones home," Weening said.
The Horans were returning home from a trip to Destin, Fla. with eight other friends. Four people were aboard the flight that crashed, and six people were on a separate plane that safely landed in Columbus.
Representatives from the NTSB arrived in Greensburg Monday evening. A spokesperson told WISH-TV there was a quarter mile visibility Sunday evening, along with fog and rain at the time of the crash. They said the plane hit trees, and bounced on a field, leaving wreckage scattered over a three acre area. There’s no word yet on why the plane crashed.
The two couples were known by nearly everyone in the close-knit community. “It’s devastating. It’s truly devastating,” said Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert. “It was such a tragic accident. Their families have our prayers.”
Herbert said Steve last worked for Honda. Don was a well-known businessman in Greensburg. Both couples attended church at St. Mary’s Parish. Herbert said he knew Dog well. “He owned a couple of the buildings here on the northeast side. He was instrumental in bringing business to Greensburg. He was what we call one of the ‘movers and shakers’ in this community. He made things happen. He was very active in his church, and he will be sadly missed,” said Herbert.
Don and Barb leave behind four daughters. Their friends Steve and Denise had two boys. Bill Wilson lives near the Butz family. He says although he didn’t know the family well, their loss has affected the entire community, as they think about their children. “I didn’t go to sleep last night… I just thought about the kids, their parents not coming home,” said Wilson.
Mark Schabel says Don was a close family friend. The two did business together, as Don was the former owner of Collection Associates. “With Don, he was someone who loved his family, and loved his god, and he loved his church."
Schabel described a special bond between Barb and Don. “Seeing the devotion he had to Barb, and to his four beautiful daughters, and to his faith, was inspirational to anyone that knew him,” said Schabel.
Schabel says their families have taken vacations together, and in the past few years, Don's conversations included his family and his latest passion - flying. He says Don was instrument rated and spent countless hours training. He described him as meticulous, detail-oriented, someone he had no doubt took all the proper training as well as his flying, very seriously. “We will miss him greatly,” Schabel said.
The NTSB will begin investigating again Tuesday morning. They'll be in Greensburg for 3-5 days. A representative from the plane's manufacturer and its engine will also be on scene.