The bodies of the two victims of Thursday's plane crash in Northeast Philadelphia are so damaged it will take dental records to positively identify them, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office said yesterday.
Jeff Moran said that, given the three-day Memorial Day holiday, it will likely be later next week before the names of the two victims can be made public. The plane's owner yesterday declined to identify the victims.
The two men were killed at about noon Thursday when the Grumman AA-1C trainer flown by a student pilot and carrying his instructor crashed and burned while practicing touch-and-go takeoffs and landings at Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
The plane was owned by Hortman Aviation, based at the airport, which runs a flight school and sells, leases and charters airplanes.
Herbert Hortman, the company's owner, has confirmed that the pilot was an advanced student practicing for his FAA license and the instructor was an employee and experienced pilot. But a Hortman spokeswoman said yesterday the company would not identify the two victims.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed yesterday that the crash will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board office in Parsippany, N.J. NTSB officials were not available for comment.
FAA officials have said the student pilot of the single-engine fixed-wing plane had completed two touch-and-go maneuvers and was preparing for a third when the control tower asked the pilot to make a hard right turn to remain in the air traffic pattern.
Hortman said the plane apparently did not have enough air speed to maintain lift and went into a "stall/spin."
Police say the plane appeared to touch down in the rear parking lot of the TJ Maxx warehouse in a large industrial park southeast of the intersection of Roosevelt Boulevard and Red Lion Road. The plane then skidded under a line of trailers at a loading dock and burst into flames.