Investigators are starting to piece together evidence to figure out why a plane headed from Warsaw to South Carolina crashed.
Charlie and Scott Smith, Scott Bibler, and Tony Elliott were on board the single-engine plane on their way to the Notre Dame-Clemson game when the plane went down. All four died in the crash.
Investigators are using sonar technology to search a lake near the crash scene, but because of the weather and rough terrain it’s taking investigators awhile to document all the plane parts.
Investigators have said there is no evidence of fire when the plane crashed and no evidence of an in-flight mechanical malfunction.
The pilot, 77-year-old Charlie Smith, was a member of the Warsaw Common Council. The council met tonight for the first time since the crash and it was an emotional meeting for everyone there.
Before the start of the meeting, council members were hugging each other and talking to audience members about the emotions that would come with saying goodbye to Charlie Smith.
One-by-one, each common council member expressed their emotions regarding their former councilman. Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer says they considered postponing the meeting, but Charlie would have wanted something different.
“I told Mark earlier today, Charlie would have wanted to go on,” said Mayor Thallemer. “He would have wanted us to go on and do our business.”
Two white roses were placed in front of Smith’s seat. The Mayor says it all seems unreal.
“It’s not going to be the same,” Thallemer. “You’ll see an empty chair here tonight and that’s something that nobody anticipated even last Friday when we had the Board of Works right here in this room. Didn’t think we’d be standing here talking about this today.”
While some cried, other council members told funny stories of their time with Charlie.
Councilman Michael Klondaris says through the jokes you could see the painful emotions many were feeling.
“I would say it was an emotional meeting,” said Klondaris. “This has really rocked the foundation of Warsaw to its core I think.”
If Charlie was still here today, Klondaris says he would say thank you.
“He did a lot for the city. He’ll be missed,” he said. “No one is going to fill his shoes but we’re all going to have to step up and collectively try to fill his shoes.”
Charlie and Scott Smith’s visitation will occur at the same time next Monday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral services will be next Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Warsaw Community Church.
Visitation for Scott Bibler is 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Tippecanoe Valley High School Gym. His funeral is 2 p.m. Sunday at the school.
Services have not been finalized for Tony Elliott.