Mon, May 31, 2004
Survived By Wife And Three Children
A veteran of the Drug
Enforcement Agency is dead after his Cessna 206 suffered apparent
engine failure, crashing into an outbuilding in the Chicago suburb
of Homer Glen (IL).
Terrance P. Loftus, 44, of Plainfield (IL) was reportedly on a
mission for the DEA, flying solo in his 206, when he took off from
Midway Airport Friday.
The agency released few details about the mission, except to say
that he was headed to Missouri.
"We are shocked and saddened at the loss of one of our DEA
family members on the eve of Memorial Day weekend when the nation
stops to honor those who have given their life in service of their
country," DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy said in a statement
released to ANN.
Witnesses on the ground said the airplane slammed into a tree,
then exploded in a detached garage, sending up a fireball and a
plume of smoke that could be seen for miles away. Those closest to
the crash scene said Loftus tried several times to restart the
engine before his aircraft impacted the ground.
"We saw a plane that was making all these weird noises, and then
it made a sharp turn and then we saw all this smoke," said 12-year
old Martin Lesniak, who was playing baseball with some friends when
the aircraft passed just a couple of hundred feet overhead. "We
started running ... and I started screaming." Lesniak was
interviewed by the Chicago-area Star Newspapers.
Anthony Grau was reportedly within 100 feet of the detached
garage when the aircraft fell from the sky at approximately 2:30 pm
local time Friday. "It come straight down out of the sky. I grabbed
a garden hose and did everything I could to try and prevent (the
fire) from spreading."
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