2-time Olympian dies in Ariz. plane crash

July 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM   |   0 comments

SEDONA, Ariz., July 27 (UPI) -- A two-time Olympcs distance runner and his 15-year-old son were killed in a small-plane crash in Arizona on the eve of the Summer Olympics, his wife said.

Pat Porter, 53, and his son Connor were among three people killed when his Beechcraft B-60 twin-turboprop aircraft crashed and burst into flames around 9 a.m. MST (noon EDT) Thursday after taking off from small, non-towered Sedona Airport, Trish Porter, a former Olympic high jumper, told reporters Friday.

Their son's friend and classmate, 14-year-old Connor Mantsch, was also killed in the crash, Porter said in Albuquerque, her hometown.

Sedona Airport can make takeoffs and landings difficult, pilots say.

"You always have gusts here. Updrafts downdrafts -- it's just a predicament. All pilots have that taking off and landing here," pilot Stephen Loftin told KSAZ-TV, Phoenix.

The airport sits on a mesa with steep cliffs almost 5,000 feet above sea level.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are to investigate the crash.

Pat Porter ran the 10,000 meters at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

In 1983, he set a world record for a road 10K long-distance running event, at 27 minutes, 31.8 seconds. He won the major Northeastern U.S. 10K Kingston Classic in Kingston, N.Y., in 1985 and 1986, the Kingston Daily Freeman reported Friday.

Porter won the silver medal at the 1985 IAAF World Cup in Athletics international track and field event in Canberra, Australia, getting nipped at the tape by Ethiopia's Wodajo Bulti by six-hundredths of a second. The International Association of Athletics Federations event is now called the IAAF Continental Cup.

Porter was best known for his cross-country running, winning a record eight consecutive USA Cross Country Championships from 1982 to 1989.

He married high-jump record-holder Trish King in 1991. The two met during the 1988 Olympics, Trish Porter's Web site says.

They also have a daughter, Shannon, age 11.

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