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Plane crash investigation laid to rest

CARDINAL, Ont. -- Two weeks after the fatal plane crash that killed Tony (52) and Jane Schertzing (47), as well as...

CARDINAL, Ont. — Two weeks after the fatal plane crash that killed Tony (52) and Jane Schertzing (47), as well as Mike Anderson (55), the investigation into the crash has been laid to rest.

The Schertzings (part owners of the Fort Erie Truck and Travel Plaza) and Anderson (the truck stop manager and a two-term Fort Erie councillor) were killed in a plane crash that occurred as they were taking off from a Brockville area airstrip Aug. 14 in a Piper Cherokee piloted by Schertzing. The Schertzings’ daughter Tara (24) was critically injured.

Investigators looked into the accident but didn’t feel there was enough evidence to support a full investigation into what caused the accident, explained Peter Rowntree, senior regional investigator for the Transportation Safety Board.

“I didn’t find any mechanical failures,” Rowntree said, explaining the board only launches a full investigation if public safety is at risk. “We believe that what caused the accident was basically a combination of smaller factors — the humidity, the weight of the plane and the length of the landing strip.”

Witnesses told Truck News they’d seen the plane lift off at the end of the landing strip only to crash into a group of trees and come toppling down. The group had just been in to Cardinal to attend the 730 Truck Stop’s Drivers Appreciation Day event.

Rowntree explained humidity could have affected the plane’s ability to take off, as it reduces air density. The length of the airstrip was also a factor.

“If it was longer they might have made it,” admitted Rowntree.

None of these factors, however, could necessarily have been predicted, Rowntree said.

“It’s something you don’t see happen very often, but it does happen,” Rowntree said.

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