By DAVID NAMANNY
Two Bellevue residents perished in a plane crash in northwest Ohio last Thursday.
DeWitt native Steve Niemann, who had recently moved to Bellevue and built an airplane hangar north of the Bellevue Golf Club, was the pilot of the plane, a 1981 Beech A36, which he stored in Bellevue.
His passenger was friend Tracy Hartnett of Bellevue, who was a massage therapist and operated Happy Maid Cleaning Service. She had four sons ranging in age from 22 to 15.
Both died in the crash, which occurred in a farm field in Allen County, Ohio, June 20 around 4:30 p.m., according to reports from the Lima Ohio News.
The cause of the plane crash remains under investigation, officials said.
According to registration information collected by the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine fixed-wing aircraft was registered to a farm located in Bellevue, Iowa, owned by the Niemann family, who were heavily involved in aviation and crop-dusting.
Flight-tracking websites place the origin of the flight in Maquoketa, with initial lift-off beginning at 2 p.m. The plane first hit cloud cover in Indiana near the Ohio border when it dropped down from 10,000 feet to near 3,000 feet about an hour before crashing in a field southwest of the intersection of Sand Point and Tudor roads near Gomer, Ohio.
Tracking data also shows the plane flew in tight circles and weaved back and forth while in the clouds before hitting some heavy rainfall. Course corrections through the cloud cover began at 3:55 p.m. with the plane climbing above 3,000 feet. The plane’s final report went out at 4:12 p.m.
The plane had been in the air for roughly two hours and 15 minutes.
Troopers responded to the crash at 4:42 p.m. near Lima, Ohio.