Weather Updates

Gary plane crash victims from Florida

Updated: October 6, 2012 2:08PM

Two St. Augustine, Fla., men have been identified as the victims of Wednesday’s small-plane crash in Gary, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office.

Remains from the crash have been positively identified through dental records as Vincent Vaccarello, 48, and Patsy Crisafi, 45, according to Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey.

The family has been notified and provided dental records to the coroner’s office to aid in identification.

“We have been on the scene for two days working diligently to gather evidence, recover victims and their personal effects,” Frey said.

The coroner said she, too, was on the scene with her death investigation team during the recovery operation.

Frey said one death investigator suffered dehydration and heat exhaustion Wednesday during the recovery efforts due to the protective suits they were required to were. That individual was treated and released from a local hospital and returned to the recovery Thursday, Frey said.

“Our efforts to bring this to closure have not ended in one shift but have remained continuous until we could secure positive ID,” Frey said.

Aviation officials have not yet identified the cause of the crash. The Cirrus SR22, which took off Wednesday morning from Smyrna, Tenn., crashed at 11:18 a.m. as it began an approach to Gary/Chicago International Airport.

When it crashed in a wooded area just south of the West Gary Lighthouse Charter School, the plane burst into flames. The debris covered a 40-square-foot area on the eastern edge of Brunswick Park.

No other injuries were reported.

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