The medical examiner’s office in Jackson County, Missouri confirmed early today that it was working to positively identify the bodies of two people who died on Sunday in a plane crash shortly after takeoff from a small airport near Kansas City.
Those close to the investigation, though, say John and Diana Lallo are likely the victims of that crash.
Dan Dickten, director of aviation at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, where the plane was registered under John Lallo’s name and where the flight first took off from on Thursday said it was apparent the couple was aboard the single-engine plane built by the Mooney Aviation Co.
The aircraft was registered to Air McRoyal. According to records at the Youngstown-Warren airport, Lallo began renting hangar space there in 2006, when he was listed under an unidentified parties aircraft. In 2009, he began renting hangar space for an aircraft that he owned.
Dickten said he believed Lallo was an avid flyer. Lallo and his wife were in Missouri at the time of the crash, he said.
The plane had taken off from the Youngstown-Regional Airport at 3:31 p.m. Thursday, stopping at the Purdue University Airport before landing at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City at 8:48 p.m., according to online flight records.
Authorities said the plane was leaving the airport about 2:45 p.m. Sunday when it crashed on the south side of the levee about a quarter-mile from the runway.
Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the National Transportation Safety Board is now in charge of the investigation because fatalities are involved. He added, however, that the pilot reported an unspecified engine problem shortly after takeoff and was cleared to return to the airport. Lunsford couldn’t be sure, but he said he didn’t believe weather was a factor.
John Lallo is listed as president of McRoyal Industries, which provides building services for fast food restaurants, banks and major retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch. Based in Youngstown, the company was founded in 1956.
An official who answered the phone at McRoyal Industries today said that “out of respect for the family, no further information is available at this time.”
A person who answered the phone at the Lallo residence in Girard refused to comment, as well.
Dan Ferguson, a spokesman for Jackson County, Missouri, said it was unclear when the medical examiners office would positively identify the bodies.