CLEVELAND (AP) — The four men killed in a fiery plane crash in Ohio were students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, including three members of the varsity wrestling team, school officials said Tuesday.
The three wrestlers were identified as 20-year-old Lucas Marcelli of Massillon, Ohio, 18-year-old Abraham Pishevar of Rockville, Maryland, and 18-year-old John Hill of St. Simons, Georgia. The 20-year-old pilot, William Felten of Saginaw, Michigan, also was killed.
University officials said Felten and Marcelli were second-year students, while Hill and Pishevar were freshmen.
Marcelli graduated from Jackson High School in Massillon and twice qualified for Ohio's state wrestling tournament.
The plane crashed outside the airport and then exploded shortly after takeoff from Cuyahoga County Regional Airport in suburban Cleveland about 10 p.m. Monday. The four men were trapped inside the wreckage.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.
Case Western Reserve University is making grief counselors available to students, and university president Barbara Snyder said in a statement that the school would be working closely with the four men's roommates and friends.
"We are truly heartbroken about these promising lives cut short," Snyder said.
Mark Gerald, 45, said he was sitting on his front porch when the plane went down. He said he could hear the plane struggling, but didn't see it until it crashed.
Gerald told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that the plane exploded as he and neighbors ran toward it to try to help.
"We thought we had (a chance to help them). It was too hot," he said. "The whole fuselage was involved."
William Honaker, 18, said he was driving nearby when he saw a "ball of light" and realized it was a plane on fire.
Honaker said he also tried to approach the aircraft, but onlookers warned him away because of the fire's intensity.
"(The plane) was so mangled," Honaker said. "I didn't want to look at it anymore, to be honest."