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Pilot on humanitarian run killed in crash

April 1, 2012 at 5:11 PM

CHESTERFIELD, Mo., April 1 (UPI) -- A pilot on a humanitarian flight was killed when the plane he was flying crashed in Ohio, officials said.

Donald J. Cates, 56, was flying a plane registered to Wings of Hope from Pittsburgh to Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Mo., when he crashed Friday evening, just east of Belmont, The St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch reported.

It was not immediately known what caused the two-seat, single-engine aircraft to go down.

Wings of Hope is a non-profit humanitarian organization that helps people with medical needs get treatment. Cates was returning the donated plane back to the charity at the time of the crash.

Wings of Hope Vice President Michele Rutledge said Cates was a long-time volunteer with the organization.

"He just wanted to make people happy," Rutledge said. "He's really going to be missed."

Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Ross Thompson said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the accident.

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