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Witnesses Watch Victim Plummet After Air Collision

December 8, 1991

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) _ One of seven victims killed in a collision between two small planes was thrown from the wreckage and plummeted to Earth before horrified witnesses who hoped for a parachute.

″I couldn’t believe it when I saw it,″ said Jon Hornback, who was on his way to a garbage dump with his 14-year-old son when they saw the crash Saturday.

″They just drove into each other like no one was even looking out the front,″ he said. ″We saw one guy ... he was all in black ... just plummet from the sky, just tumbling over and over and over.″

Federal investigators examined airplane parts strewn Sunday across a farm field for clues to the cause of the collision. Wreckage was scattered for a half-mile near Snohomish, which is northeast of Seattle.

The planes collided at about 2,000 feet. All on board both planes were killed. Four men and a woman were in a twin-engine Piper PA-34. A single- engine Cessna 172 carried two men, said sheriff’s spokesman Elliott Woodall.

″We kept hoping a parachute would pop or something, but none of them had parachutes on,″ Hornback said.

Joe Catalano, a duty officer for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the Cessna was practicing an instrument-guided approach to Arlington Airport, about 15 miles north of Snohomish.

The Piper was flying under visual flight rules, under which aviators must stay clear of clouds and watch for other aircraft, Catalano said. He said the plane was flying from Boundary Bay, British Columbia, to Boeing Field in Seattle.

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