Two grandparents who died in a plane crash while traveling for Thanksgiving are mourned by family and friends in a small Illinois town.
At around 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, Joseph and Patty Kreher, of Freeburg, Illinois, were killed when their Piper PA-30 aircraft crashed in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After leaving the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, the couple stopped in London, Kentucky, and crashed near an airport in Winston-Salem, according to KSDK-TV.
An Air Safety Investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board told a local news station the pilot alerted the airport radio tower there was a problem before the plane went down.
“The pilot communicated saying he needed to circle the airport for a second attempt and the airplane lost control during the maneuver,” Wetnz said.
Freeburg is mourning the loss of its neighbors while the investigation continues.
“We all knew Joe and Patty, so it’s going to be hard,” Freeburg Mayor Seth Speiser said.
They were a well-known and popular couple in the town of 4,500.
“I knew Joe and Patty, they owned a machine shop off of 159, very well-liked people.” Speiser said.
As owners of General Machine, the Krehers provided heavy equipment repair and other machining services to the Metro East and Southern Illinois regions, as well as Greater St. Louis.
“I feel sorry for all the families who work there too. Because it was a mom-and-pop shop, and now the mom-and-pop are gone.”
According to a family member who spoke to FOX8 in Winston-Salem, the Krehers were visiting their son and grandchildren for Thanksgiving.
A family member said the couple had made the trip from St. Louis to North Carolina several times before without incident.
The National Association of Flight Instructors lists Joseph Kreher as a flight instructor.