PEORIA– The single-engine plane that crashed in Hanna City on Saturday had been in the air for nearly five hours, having left Santa Fe, N.M., earlier that day.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing to investigate the accident that killed two people, a pilot and a passenger, on Saturday afternoon. But an initial report from the FAA says the aircraft "experienced engine issues. Attempted emergency landing on highway, striking powerlines."
Killed were James and Lisa Evanson of Santa Fe, said Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood. James Evanson, 75, who was flying the plane, suffered severe and detrimental internal bleeding and multiple broken bones that were not sustainable in the short term, Harwood said.
Illinois plane crash:2 dead after small plane crashes in Hanna City
His wife, Lisa, suffered multiple blunt force trauma injuries that were not consistent with life and she died instantly, the coroner said.
James Evanson was an accomplished artist who specialized in glass sculpture and functional art. Both he and Lisa Evanson were registered architects, according to an Evanson Studios website. A bio on James' website also says he served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, where he earned several honors including the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. FAA records show that the plane was registered to James, who had a commercial aviation license as well as a license for flying helicopters.
The aircraft crashed about 12:30 p.m. Saturday on Illinois Route 116 and stopped outside of Gil's Supper Club. Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said people heard the plane sputtering above KP's Wings and Fries.
The plane navigated between vehicles on the roadway and landed onto Farmington Road, then struck a building on the north side of the road. Both had to be extricated from the plane.
The plane, a Mooney M20K, was built in 1982. The M20 is "one of the most iconic light planes in history," according to Plane & Pilot Magazine, and has been in production for 70 years. The K model is a four-seater and has a 210-horsepower engine, according to Wikipedia.
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A statement from the FAA said, "The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide all updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents."
Eric Weiss, an NTSB spokesman, said his agency will issue a preliminary report in about two weeks, stating what investigators found at the crash site. Several months from now, a full factual report will be issued looking at all aspects of the crash, from the human side of it to the mechanical and environmental sides.
Later, Weiss said, the agency will release a probable-cause report where it will give its assessment on what likely happened. The entire process could take more than a year, he said.
"Our investigators will look at everything involving the pilot, looking at any medical questions: Did they have enough time to rest, were they fatigued on the day of the flight, qualifications and certifications. Then we'll look at the machine itself. We'll get the wreckage and secure it in a local (place) where it's safe so that investigators can still access it. We'll also look at the maintenance records as well," he said.
According to the website Flightaware, which tracks planes, the Mooney M20 made 11 flights from May 28 until it crashed on Saturday. Most of the flights were between two and three hours long and appeared to have the plane making flights to and from stops in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico and Texas. None of the previous flights appeared to pass through Illinois or near Peoria.
This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Plane that crashed near Peoria, Illinois originated in New Mexico