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Plane Carrying ATF Agents Crashes

February 8, 1999

MEDINA, Ohio (AP) _ A plane carrying three federal agents crashed Sunday in northeast Ohio, where a resident helped pull the injured men to safety as the plane burned.

The men, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, were on their way to a training session in Louisiana, ATF spokesman Patrick Berarducci said. They were hospitalized with injuries that did not appear life-threatening.

The privately-owned plane crashed at approximately 11:30 a.m. seconds after takeoff from a small airport during a snowfall, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

The single-engine plane apparently hit a tree, Berarducci said.

A resident near the crash site, Kerry Clark, said he ran to the scene and found three dazed, injured men trying to get away from the plane.

After he heard a popping noise, he said an agent identified all three as being with the ATF and warned that the fire was setting off ammunition aboard the plane.

He said one man with an injured leg was trying to pull the other two away from the plane. Clark said he then pulled all three to a grouping of trees, which shielded them.

Clark and his son covered the three with blankets until help arrived.

David Hall, a Columbus-based agent who was piloting the plane, and Eric Frey, an agent from Cleveland, were in serious condition. Roger Guthrie, based in Detroit, was in guarded condition.

Medina was the most convenient place for Hall to pick up Frey on the way to Louisiana, Berarducci said.

Update hourly