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Planes Collide; Up to Seven Dead in Pennsylvania

July 31, 1989

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Two small airplanes collided in flight Sunday and seven people were killed, moments after one of the planes had dropped skydivers at an airport festival, authorities said. One person on the ground was injured.

The planes collided about a mile southwest of Queen City Airport, which was hosting a hot-air ballon festival, said Bill Vogel, area supervisor for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The planes crashed near a shopping mall.

″They were flying one over the other, then one flew up and hit the other,″ said Frank Kosh, a Salisbury Township resident who saw the collision.

A mall employee said the planes ″must have been real low because I could hear the collision in here.″

″It was like a loud car collision - metal to metal,″ said Gary Wertman, 45, of Allentown, who was working at Hess’s Auto Center in the South Mall.

″I looked out the window and I could see the tail section hit the ground,″ Wertman said.

He said one plane landed at the edge of the mall’s parking lot, about 10 feet from the building. No cars were nearby. The other plane landed about 1,000 feet away, behind a car dealership across the street, he said.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the plane that carried the parachutists was missing its left wing when it hit the ground. Airport spokeswoman Joan Wildman identified the craft as a Cessna 182.

Police said the planes were heading to the airport and the one that dropped the parachutists had taken off from there.

The four parachutists landed safely, officials said. One man on the ground suffered minor injuries when his car was struck by debris, but he did not require hospitalization, Salisbury Township police said.

Lehigh County Coroner Wayne identified the pilot of the parachutists’s plane as Peter C. Miller, 47, of Sellersville. Miller was the only one on board after the parachuters jumped.

The pilot of the other plane was identified as Dr. Abdul Kahn, 43, of Allentown. Also on board were Dr. Muhammad A. Malik, 45, of Allentown, his 12- year-old son, Raymond Malik, two other adults and a child, said Synder, who withheld the last three victims’ names.

The festival involved 40 to 45 hot-air balloons and numerous food and concessions stands, said Wildman. No balloons were in the air at the time of the collision, she said.

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