Plane Impacted Power Lines During Volunteer Flight
A tragic 2004 plane accident during
a charity fundraising event has taken yet another sad turn, as
authorities plan to pursue homicide charges against the pilot who
The Stevens Point (WI) Journal reports Mark Strub will soon face
a single charge of negligent homicide stemming from the August 28,
2004 crash that killed passenger Kimberly Reed.
Reed, 39, was one of several passengers Strub gave
10-minute rides to in his Stearman PT-13 during the 2004 Children's
Miracle Network Balloon Rally in Wisconsin Rapids. Strub had
volunteered his time and plane for the event.
According to the NTSB Probable Cause report on the crash, Strub
said he had given three people free rides prior to the accident
flight. Reed has asked for an aerobatic flight, so with both
persons wearing parachutes the plane departed, and climbed to 3,000
After performing one Cuban eight, a loop, and two hammerhead
stalls, Strub and Reed were heading back to the airport, at an
altitude of about 50 feet over the Wisconsin river.
"Just as I was to initiate a climb I struck power lines crossing
the river," Strub told investigators. "I noticed the power lines
not more that 1/2 second before impact."
The Stearman's landing gear struck the powerlines, and the
airplane landed inverted in Nepco Lake in about 3-4 feet of water.
Officials believe Reed was killed on impact; Strub escaped with
In an interview with the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune three
days after the crash, Strub said he continued to relive the
crash "every ten minutes."
"I didn't even know her name," Strub told the paper. "She came
up to me, of course, trusting me with her life, and wanted the
experience. That's why I was there. How did that turn tragic? I
have no real answer."
Friends and fellow pilots quickly rallied to the 44-year-old pilot's
"It's just such a tragedy what happened," said Mike Wiberg to
the Daily Tribune. "The guy is donating his time, sharing flying
experiences with people who have never flown before. When I first
saw the airplane, I thought 'Oh, my god.'"