Pilot of Crashed Plane in Creve Coeur Lake Dies, Wife Still in Critical Condition
Russell Hazelton, of Pennsylvania, was announced dead Thursday. He and his wife have a home in Town & Country.
Hazelton's wife, Suzanne, remains in critical condition. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch report says she is on life support.
Russell Hazelton crashed his four-seat, single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee plane at about 8:40 p.m. A witness saw the plane go down and heard what sounded like an engine sputtering; the witness told that to Maryland Heights police.
Maryland Heights Deputy Chief Bill Carson said rescue crews made valiant attempts to save the couple's life.
He said Maryland Heights police officers were waist-deep in water while holding the wing of the aircraft afloat so it wouldn't sink into deeper waters while other emergency crews arrived. He said the cockpit was underwater when police first arrived and both passengers had been underwater for several minutes.
Russell Hazelton was not breathing when rescue crews removed him from the cockpit. But initial CPR attempts were successful as Carson said Hazelton was breathing when he got to the hospital.
The Hazeltons were on their way to Creve Coeur Airport from Pennsylvania.
Property records indicate they have a home in Town & Country.
Carson could not confirm if Russell Hazelton died of blunt trauma from the crash or if it was a drowning.
The Federal Aviation Administration is now on the scene and assisting in the investigation.
Town and Country police tell Patch, Russell and Suzanne Hazelton were both graduates of the city's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program through the police department. CERT is a program offered by police and fire departments that offers residents training in order to assist the community in the event of a large-scale disaster.
Captain Gary Hoelzer said the Hazeltons went through the program with about 40 members of their neighborhood.
"They are one of more of our more involved neighborhoods with CERT," Hoelzer said.
Gabrielle Biondo contributed to this report.
Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article, Patch reported that the Hazeltons owned a home in Chesterfield. We've corrected the story to report the Hazeltons own a home in Town & Country. We regret this error.