2 Purdue students crash in WWII-era plane

Feb. 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Two Indiana university students -- one an experienced pilot -- were aboard a World War II-era plane that crashed, officials said.

The plane carrying Anthony Cole, 22, building construction management major with an associate degree in professional aviation, and Thomas Williams, 22, a liberal arts major, both students at Purdue University in West Lafayette, crashed Tuesday, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The plane landed nose down near Americus in a wooded area near a farm field, the Star reported.

Cole, unconscious, was pinned in the cockpit, the report said. Rescue workers spent an hour extricating him. He was taken to an area hospital, then transferred to an Indianapolis hospital due to the extent of his injuries. He was undergoing surgery Wednesday morning, the newspaper said.

Williams is in serious condition at an area hospital, the newspaper reported.

The plane, a 1942 Taylorcraft that was used during the war but never left the states, was loaned to Cole, said Elwain C. Dreyer of Cardington, Ohio, the plane's owner.

"The plane was in excellent shape," said Dreyer, adding Cole is a "fantastic pilot."

Dreyer, who said he was heading for Indianapolis as soon as possible, said he wasn't sure whether Cole was the pilot in the incident.

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and is sending investigators, the newspaper reported. The sheriff's office is posting security at the scene pending the arrival of FAA investigators, police said.

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