Warren County corrects ID of pilot in double-fatal plane crash

ajc.com

(NOTE: This story has been updated with new information regarding the pilot’s identification.) 

The Warren County Coroner’s Office revealed Thursday afternoon that the pilot thought initially to be at the helm of a 2016 plane crash in Warren County at Camp Kern was misidentified.

The revelation comes in the wake of a final report released this week by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), indicating that the pilot killed in the crash at Camp Kern had marijuana and alcohol in his system.

ExploreRELATED: Preliminary report from double-fatal plane crash released

Eric Hackney, 43, of Punta Gorda, Florida, was originally named as the pilot of the plane that crashed after it struck a zipline over the Little Miami River in Oregonia on Oct. 16.

But Warren County Coroner’s investigator Doyle Burke told this news outlet that Hackney’s passenger, Jesse Loy, 36, of Punta Gorda, Florida, also killed in the crash, was actually piloting the aircraft.

“The family contacted me after they said they had read a report somewhere by NTSB that had Hackney as the pilot,” Burke said. “Loy was piloting the plane, and Hackney was a passenger ... so I am not sure how that initial information got released.”

He added that a dental forensic processes helped make the positive identification of Loy and Hackney, who were both killed in the crash.

“We want to make sure in these types of situations that the correct bodies get released to the families,” Burke said. “I was able to assure the families that was the case in this instance.”

An NTSB spokesman confirmed that the organization doesn’t release the specific names of people piloting an aircraft in its accident reports. “We do not give out the names,” the spokesman said.

According to the NTSB’s final report, “the blood level was below the regulatory limit; however, pilots may be impaired below this threshold,” the report read.

Findings during the investigation also “indicated that the pilot had used marijuana sometime before the accident; however, since there is no accepted relationship between blood levels and degree of impairment, whether the impairing effects… contributed to the accident could not be determined,” the report said.

The report indicated the cause of the crash was “the pilot’s decision to fly at a low altitude, which resulted in the collision with a zipline.”

The plane did not have any other mechanical malfunctions during the crash, according to the report.

The report shows Loy had a private pilot certificate since September 2008 and had at least 750 hours of flight time. At least 200 of those hours were logged while Loy flew an RV-4 plane, which was the type involved in the fatal crash, the report read.