Family and friends in a small Illinois town mourn the loss of two grandparents who died in a plane crash while traveling for Thanksgiving.
Joseph and Patty Kreher of Freeburg, Illinois, died Saturday when their small, twin-engine Piper PA-30 plane crashed in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at about 11:15 a.m. The pair had departed from St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, made a stopover in London, Kentucky, and then crashed near an airport in Winston-Salem, KSDK-TV reported.
Authorities at the National Safety Transportation Board are investigating the cause of the crash. Air Safety Investigator Pete Wentz told local news station the pilot reported to the airport’s radio tower that there was a problem before the plane crashed.
“The pilot advised that he needed to circle the airport for a second attempt, and during the circumnavigation maneuver the plane lost control and hit the ground,” Wetnz said.
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While the investigation is ongoing, the city of Freeburg mourns the loss of its neighbors.
“It’s just going to be tough for everyone who knew Joe and Patty,” Freeburg Mayor Seth Speiser told KSDK.
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The couple was well-known and popular in the city of 4,500.
“I knew Joe and Patty, they had a machine shop of 159, very popular people in the area,” Speiser said.
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The Krehers owned a machine shop called General Machine that supplied heavy equipment repairs and other machining needs for the Metro East and Southern Illinois area and the greater St. Louis area.
“They had an incredible business out there,” Speiser told KSDK, “I feel sorry for all the families who work there too. Because it was a corner shop and now Mom and Dad are gone.”
A family member who spoke to FOX8 in Winston-Salem said the Krehers flew into town from St. Louis to visit their son and grandchildren for Thanksgiving.
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The family member said the couple have made the trip from St. Louis to North Carlina several times without incident.
Joseph Kreher is listed as a flight instructor with the National Association of Flight Instructors.