Small Plane Hits Indiana Home; 2 Dead

The aircraft crashed at the VIrgil I Grissom Airport. That airport is located in Bedford, IN.

No details about the aircraft type or point of origin. According to a quote attributed to the FAA in the article, the aircraft may have been VFR.

CNN/AP is reporting a sad twist to this story:

BEDFORD, Indiana (AP) – A pilot and his 8-year-old daughter were killed Monday when their small plane crashed into an in-laws’ house near a southern Indiana airport, authorities said.

Indiana State Police spokesman 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten said a preliminary crash investigation leads “us to believe that this was an intentional act.”

As a father I can’t help but find it deeply disturbing that apart from the violent act of intentionally crashing an aircraft into a house, but that someone would bring their child with them.

Since when is a state cop an expert in aircraft crashes?

CNN’s report stated that the mother reported the daughter missing late that morning, so that’s probably why the state police were involved. It said that the daughter was on a trip with the dad but she didn’t expect it to keep her daughter out of school Monday – so she went to the police and allegedly told them that she suspected the dad had taken her.

Sure seems like it was intentional, but I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was taking her for a flyby over grandma’s house and something went terribly wrong. Only the dad knows for sure, unless the NTSB can find indicative evidence. Regardless, a very very sad story.

Two interesting items that each suggest an opposite conclusion:

One: A witness supposedly claims they saw the plane try to land, then suddenly veered sharply as it went down.

Two: Before knowing it was her granddaughter and son-in-law, the owner of the home reported hearing a horrible noise from a plane just prior to the crash.

First, take those two witness recounts and throw them out the window. They’re usually worthless.

Then, if you really really want to, go outside and pick them up, and look at them closer.

  1. “looked like tried to land”. Ok. I’ve worked around airplanes for many many years, and I can’t tell you when a 172 appears to be trying to land or when it appears to be trying to crash.

  2. “she heard a horrible noise” A plane coming towards your home at full throttle, possibly hitting some power lines or trees along the way, probably makes a pretty horrible noise. Grandmothers think planes make horrible noises when they’re flying along at altitude, what do you think it’s going to sound like prior to crashing into your house?

cfijames very good points!

Very sad story though!

Here’s the preliminary data from the FAA:

Regis#: 66513 Make/Model: C150 Description: 150, A150, Commuter, Aerobat
Date: 03/05/2007 Time: 1600

Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: Fatal Mid Air: N Missing: N
Damage: Destroyed

City: BEDFORD State: IN Country: US


INJURY DATA Total Fatal: 2
# Crew: 1 Fat: 1 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
# Pass: 1 Fat: 1 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
# Grnd: Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:


Activity: Unknown Phase: Unknown Operation: OTHER

Departed: Dep Date: Dep. Time:
Destination: Flt Plan: Wx Briefing:
Last Radio Cont:
Last Clearance:

FAA FSDO: INDIANAPOLIS, IN (GL11) Entry date: 03/06/2007

It doesn’t look like an accident with this account of the circumstances:

The crash was intentional, and Eric R. Johnson was a manipulative and controlling man, Pace told the Herald-Times Tuesday.

During the call, Eric Johnson allegedly told Beth Johnson, Ive got her, and youre not going to get her, Pace said.

In the background, Beth Johnson could hear Emily saying, Mommy, come get me. Come get me.

Using an airplane as a ‘lethal weapon’ is extremely rare. However, the same scenario gets played out almost daily. Getting revenge on a spouse by killing the kids (and usually self) is a rather common variation on domestic violence.