Owner says 9 aboard plane that crashed in Akron

Fatal flight that crashed in Akron left Lunken Tuesday (VIDEO)
FlightAware shows path of plane before crash (Source: FlightAware)
FlightAware shows path of plane before crash (Source: FlightAware)
Lunken Airport (Photo: Ben Katko, FOX19 NOW)
Lunken Airport (Photo: Ben Katko, FOX19 NOW)
A plane at Lunken Airport (Photo: Ben Katko, FOX19 NOW)
A plane at Lunken Airport (Photo: Ben Katko, FOX19 NOW)

AKRON, OH (FOX19) - The owner of a small business jet that crashed into an Akron apartment building Tuesday says there were nine people aboard.

Plane owner Augusto Lewkowicz says two pilots and seven passengers were on the flight. There were no survivors.

The 10-seat Hawker H25 jet left Fort Lauderdale on Monday and stopped in St. Paul, Minnesota; Moline, Illinois; and St. Louis before arriving in Cincinnati.

The plane departed Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport Tuesday morning then stopped in Dayton. Its final destination was Akron Fulton Airport, 2 miles from where the crash happened.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the plane clipped a telephone wire, hit an apartment building then crashed into an embankment behind that building. The small apartment building was destroyed by a subsequent fire.

The victims' names have not been released by officials.

The passengers who died in the crash worked for Pebb Enterprises, a real estate company out of Boca Raton, Florida. The company released the following statement:

Our hearts are broken this morning with the news of the tragic accident that took the lives of two principals and five employees of Pebb Enterprises. We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished. Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers. We ask for the media's understanding and cooperation at this time of unimaginable loss and mourning.

Wednesday morning, a Newark, Ohio woman told WOIO she feared her sister was a passenger on the plane and died when it crashed.

Jeannie Ferraia says her 50-year-old sister, Diane Smoot, worked for Pebb Enterprises.. She says her sister was reportedly traveling with company executives and they were searching for real estate development sites to purchase.

Ferraia tells WOIO she has not received any confirmation from any official that her sister was one indeed of the victims.

According to airline tracker FlightAware, a Raytheon Hawker 800 left Lunken Airport at 11:12 a.m., and arrived at Dayton-Wright Brothers airport at 11:25 a.m. The plane was not based in Cincinnati, according to Anderton.

OSHP Staff Lt. Bill Haymaker says authorities have been in touch with the owner of the building, who confirmed that no one was home at the time of the crash. He also says no one else on the ground was injured.

Witness who saw and heard the crash described the scene.

"All of a sudden this plane just dropped out of the sky, just veered sideways and just plowed right into the duplexes there," said Roberta Porter. "It was just instant boom and flames and smoke, it was horrific."

"I told my coworkers at the time when I heard the engine cut out and then I heard the explosion, a plane just crashed. I ran outside," Scott Ferrell said.

Right now there is no word on whether any distress calls came from the aircraft before the crash.

The FAA and NTSB has investigators on the scene.

Officials would not speculate on what may have caused the deadly crash. The weather in the Akron area Tuesday has been overcast and rainy.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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