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Carmel brothers, pilot identified in deadly Kokomo plane crash

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Posted at 10:25 AM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 14:15:21-04

KOKOMO — Two teen brothers from Carmel and a Kokomo man died Sunday when a plane crashed into a cornfield near a Kokomo airport.

Reece David Kelly, 15, Liam Patrick Kelly, 17, and the plane's pilot, Jerral Alan Long, 63, died in the crash, according to Howard County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jordan J. Buckley. A third teenager, Cameron Wagler, 17, of Greentown, is in stable condition.

The Kelly brothers were members of the Westfield High School track and cross-country teams.

"We are overwhelmed with grief as we announce the tragic passing of Liam and Reece Kelly," a tweet from the Westfield track and cross-country programs said. "Our friends. Our teammates. Our brothers. We love you, we will miss you, and we will carry you with us forever."

In a news release, Buckley said the Howard County 911 dispatch center received phone calls just before 11 a.m. about an airplane down and on fire in a cornfield near the Glenndale Airport. The plane was last seen north of the airstrip.

Deputies found bystanders tending to Wagler, who was alert and conscious. He told deputies four people were on board the flight and he was seated in the rear of the plane. First responders found the three victims, who were pronounced deceased at 11:30 a.m.

Buckley said a preliminary investigation determined Long was piloting the 1980 Piper PA-32 and approaching the airstrip from the north for landing when the plane struck a large high-tension wooden power line pole, which caused the aircraft to nose-dive into the cornfield where it caught fire.

Buckley said the three teenagers on board were members of a club called the "Flying Squirrels" who were flying prior to the annual Glenndale Days BBQ Bash charity event.

The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Howard County Sheriff's Office and the Howard County Coroner's Office are investigating the crash. Buckley said autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday.

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